Panthers, Vikes battle for bragging rights

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 14, 2007

It’s not what the Chesapeake Panthers don’t have as much as what they do that worries Symmes Valley coach Rusty Webb.

The Panthers may not have as much speed as in the past, and injuries may leave them shorthanded, but Webb said there’s still plenty of gas left in Chesapeake’s tank when the two teams renew their annual rivalry Friday night at Symmes Valley.

“They don’t have the burners, but they still have a lot of very good team speed,” said Webb. “They still have good team speed and they run to the ball on defense.”

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Chesapeake (0-2) desperately needs a win, much like last year when it started 0-2 and beat the Vikings 40-11.

But key injuries have Panthers coach Phil Davis concerned.

“We’re still waiting to see how many we get back. We played Wayne without our starting guard (Eric) Ross, and we still don’t know about (running back) Aaron Ross and our quarterback (Aaron Donahoe),” said Davis.

While the Panthers aren’t sure who will be in their lineup, Davis is very familiar with the Vikings

“They have a lot of the same guys who played last year and they look real similar as far as what they do,” said Davis.

“They play power football and hit you on defense. Their quarterback (Chris Capper) is a good player. He’s the guy who makes the biggest plays.”

Speaking of big plays, Webb said the Panthers big-play capabilities scare him the most.

“The thing we have to do is eliminate their big play. That’s something that’s always hurt us in the past, and we can’t turn the ball over and give them a short field,” said Webb.

Chesapeake played well despite losing 28-0 to Wayne, W.Va., last week while Symmes Valley couldn’t overcome its own mistakes in a 34-32 loss at Matewan, W.Va.

“They dropped a couple of passes last week. They probably should have won,” said Davis.

“I felt last week our kids played with a lot of determination, specifically on defense. We were beaten up last week and we have to overcome that and we have to play hard again. We have to believe we can we can win.”

Webb said the outcome will be decided by one simple thing.

“In the end, it just boils down to execution,” said Webb.