• 41°

Chesapeake must find a way to stop Wayne

CHESAPEAKE - Look for Chesapeake Panthers head coach Phil Davis to put up a half dozen "Stop" signs strategically on the football field.

It will be the stopping that's more important than the going Friday night as the Panthers host the Wayne (W.Va.) Pioneers in a key non-league game.

Wayne, Class AA state runners-up last season, has several offensive weapons returning to make the Pioneers the preseason favorite to win the state title.

"We have to execute on offense and score, then we have to find a way to stop them. We have to find a way to get some stops," Davis said.

"We have to find a way to score. They always play good defense against us."

The Chesapeake defense will be tested as the Pioneers turn to leading rusher Garry Roland, quarterback Nick Newell, fullback Daniel Runyon, Dana Lycans and tight end Trevor Marcum.

Also in the mix is speedy Todd Mays.

"They've got a quick receiver (Mays) and Lycans has impressed me," Davis said. "Their quarterback doesn't run a lot but he's capable. He's a big, strong kid with a strong arm. They're capable of being very versatie.

Marcum doubles as a linebacker on defense. He has all ready verbally committed to Marshall. Marcum is one of the few players who goes both ways.

"I think overall their speed is really good. They rotate three backs and they're all fast," Davis said. "Wayne presents different problems for you."

The Panthers will get a break in preparation since the two teams run virtually the same offense and defense. Davis doesn't see an advantage.

"It helps us and it helps them," Davis said.

Chesapeake will be hurt due to the loss of lineman Ryan McComas who suffered a broken ankle in last week's 27-20 loss to Portsmouth.

With McComas out, Andrew Ittig shifts to guard and Brad Eldred will become the tackle. Patrick Fernandez will move from fullback to guard.

Defensively, the Panthers will go with Josh Ross or Jason Caynor at outside linebacker. Jaran Bartoe will play defensive end.

"The thing is, we were inexperiened up front to start with, so we have to learn on the job pretty quickly and they've done well this week," Davis said.

Wayne presents a challenge to the Panthers who don't want to start out another season 0-2. Davis knows it will be difficult.

"I think they're as good as they were last year," Davis said. " They play good technique defense. They don't come up the field.They make it hard on you."