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Vikings look to snap losing skid to Panthers

Some things just can't wait.

Backyard brawls are usually reserved for the end of the year, but that's not the case with the Chesapeake Panthers and Symmes Valley Vikings.

The two longtime rivals meet in week three of the football season on Friday night as the Vikings play the host in this encounter.

Chesapeake, which hasn't lost since 1989 in the series dating back to 1983, is again in a must-win situation. The Panthers are 0-2 and need a win or the team could possibly face elimination from any postseason consideration.

Panthers coach Phil Davis understands the magnitude of the game.

"It's huge," Davis said. "To be competitive, we have to step up. We've been 0-2 before and there's no quit in our kids, but we can't go 0-3."

Chesapeake lost its opener 27-20 when Portsmouth rallied in the final minutes. The Panthers then fumbled away the final chance after driving into Portsmouth territory.

Last week, the Panthers lost 44-6 to West Virginia power Wayne despite trailing just 12-0 at the half and suffering four turnovers and three bad snaps on punts.

"We've played good teams, but we feel like we haven't really played well. We were in the Wayne game early and had made three major mistakes. In the Portsmouth game we played well at times," said Davis.

Symmes Valley comes into the game 1-1 and could use a win to not only end the Panthers winning streak in the series but enhance its own playoff chances.

The Vikings were guilty of their mistakes in a 27-14 season-opening loss at Huntington Ross. A bad snap on a punt and a fumbled punt led to two easy Ross touchdowns.

"(Symmes Valley) has improved a lot. Special teams have hurt them so bad and mistakes have hurt them. They moved the ball against Huntington Ross," Davis said.

Coach Rusty Webb said the Panthers are better than their record.

"They've played a couple of good teams. They have good skilled kids. They don't have a big offensive line, but they have a good offensive line," Webb said.

Davis said the Vikings and Panthers have a lot of similar styles.

"They're a lot like us defensively," Davis said. "Last year we were mirror images and the game was 6-0 so it showed that. Their kids play technique on defense and they get after it. They're physical. And like everybody else, they're bigger than us."

Webb echoed Davis' sentiments when talking about Chesapeake.

"Defensively, they get off their blocks and run to the ball well. They're well-coached," Webb said. "It'll be another close one. The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win."

Davis is concerned about the Vikings running backs Derek Carpenter and Matt Owens, lineman Alex Burnett and end Kyle Meadows.

"Carpenter and Owens are both good players. Burnett and Meadows looked pretty good on the film we saw. They kind of jumped out at us," Davis.

Chesapeake offers some headaches for the Vikings, too. Webb said quarterback Caleb McComas, fullback Kersten Harris, end Jeffrey Thornburg and wingback Michael Stapleton are just a few of the key players the Vikings must contain.

"Besides their offense, we have to be careful with their special teams. With their skilled players, they can take it to the house at any time," Webb said.

While Chesapeake has held the upper hand in the past, Davis said the Vikings have one thing in their favor this year.

"They're always tougher at home. It'll be a tough game for us," Davis said.