Updated Thu, Oct 18, 2012 2:49 pm
A potential playoff spot, sole possession of second place in the MVL, and a rivalry game. That’s what is in store for Friday night’s matchup between the Philo Electrics and the Maysville Panthers. To say that Friday’s game in Zanesville is going to be special is a massive understatement.
The past two years have resulted in favor of the Electrics, although their margin of victory has been slim. Last season, Philo held off Maysville, 21-20, winning off of a missed extra point in the third quarter by the Panthers. In 2010, the Electrics won a defensive matchup, 12-7.
But times are changing at Maysville and a big part of that is due to first-year head coach Craig Clarke and the success that he has brought to his Panther football team. Last week’s victory over the Sheridan Generals marked Maysville’s first seven-win season in over a decade and their first win over the Generals in 28 years. The Panthers hope to ride the momentum from last week’s win into this week, as their game against Philo will be one of the biggest games of the season.
“When you’ve got two 7-1 teams battling for Week 9 and a possible playoff spot, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a close rivalry or not, it’s going to be an intense ballgame,” Clarke said.
Philo’s Head Coach Dirk Lincicome recognizes the recent success at Maysville and realizes that they are a tough team to beat.
“They’re athletic, they score points, and they’ve turned a corner in their program,” Lincicome said. “They’re playing with a lot of confidence right now so it’s a dangerous game for our kids.”
For as high as Maysville’s confidence is at this point in the season, their offensive production is on the same level as they are averaging over 27 points per game.
“You just have to prepare vertically and horizontally to defend these guys,” Lincicome said. “They are multi-dimensional and they do a lot of things well. That’s why they’re 7-1.”
Across the field from the Panthers, it will be no easy task to stop the high-voltage Philo offense that has averaged scoring over 34 points per game.
“They can run inside, run outside, and they can throw,” Clarke said. “We just have to be fundamentally sound and all rally to the ball. We also have to limit the big play and make them earn it.”
Philo has a high-scoring offense, but they hang their hat on their defense that is one of the league’s best, allowing only 9 points per game.
“We have got to be able to keep Philo trying to defend the whole field,” Clarke said.
When you’re facing a team with such a stout defense, capitalizing on every possession is immensely important. Last week against the Generals, Maysville was able to score a touchdown on each of their first three possessions of the game. This efficiency and ability to protect the football will be a key factor in defeating the Electrics.
“The team that makes less mistakes is probably going to win this ballgame,” Clarke said.
With Friday night being senior night as well as the chance to lock up Maysville’s first playoff spot in school history, the Panthers are focused on their game and are trying not to get caught up in all of the hype.
“We’re just focused on the game plan and not the name on the other side,” Clarke said. “They’re just a team in the way.”