Panthers face elimination game

Published 12:15 am Thursday, October 6, 2016

Jim Walker

CHESAPEAKE — Call it an elimination game.
The Chesapeake Panthers host the Portsmouth Trojans in an Ohio Valley Conference game on Friday that could determine whom remains in the league title chase and who is relegated to a spoiler role.
Both teams are 2-1 in the league, one game behind Ironton. The Panthers main roadblock the rest of the schedule would be Rock Hill while Portsmouth must still face Ironton.
The Panthers (5-1) are in the final game of a tough three-game stretch that began with a 49-28 win over Coal Grove and then suffered a 28-12 loss last week at Ironton.
Portsmouth (4-2) lost to Coal Grove 40-20 last week — the game was tied 20-20 at halftime — and rallied past Rock Hill 33-32 in week four.
Chesapeake must contain the Trojans quarterback Luke Purdy, running backs Taylyn Parker and Austin Lansing and wide receiver Ryan Williams.
“They’re dangerous offensively. They’re big and athletic. We can’t give up the big play,” said Panthers’ coach Andy Clark.
“Their quarterback is a good runner who makes them go. He’s their catalyst. Parker is fast and the Lansing kids plays hard. The Williams kid is a nice player and he has some size.”
The Panthers have an explosive offense led by quarterback Casey McComas and running backs Cecil Fletcher, Will Scott, J.W. Bartrum and Ty Wilcoxon.
Clark said Portsmouth’s defense will be tough to crack.
“Their front is bigger on defense than last year. (Jadan Josey) is a nice linebacker and they have some other players who can cause problems,” said Clark.
Besides staying alive in the league race, the game is a big point game for the postseason computer ratings.
Portsmouth is worth 18 points on the second level and Chesapeake is worth 21.5 points on the second level.
In other area games, Gallipolis is at Coal Grove, South Point visits Fairland, West Union goes to Green, Symmes Valley plays at Portsmouth Notre Dame on Saturday, Wheelersburg visits Waverly in a battle of unbeatens, Eastern entertains Sciotoville East, Northwest visits Oak Hill, Portsmouth West hosts Lucasville Valley and Minford treks to Johnstown Northridge.

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