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Annika Pepper

Senior Hunter Lawson throws the ball against Jonesboro. This loss marks the first time the Panthers have lost a region game since September 29, 2017, when Griffin bested them 29-28.

Gameday Takeaways, Week 5

Three notes as region play gets underway

October 1, 2019

Last Friday, the Panthers traveled to Clayton County to take on the Jonesboro High School Cardinals in the first region game of the season. A back and forth game through the first three quarters, the Cardinals eventually pulled away, winning 21-14. Here are three notes from the contest.

  1. Kalen Sims is back

It took a bit, but senior Kalen Sims has risen back to the threatening running back we all knew last season. 

After totaling 143 yards through the first three games, Sims has had a strong last two games, rushing for 201 yards and a touchdown. 

With his return to form and senior Ben Bodne’s continued strong performance, the Panther run game will be as prominent as it’s been all season.

  1. Injuries, injuries, and more injuries

The Panthers have recently been hit with the injury bug. Junior Wes Haney, who returned against Jonesboro, missed the previous two games with an injury. 

Juniors Cole Bishop, Nate Kearns, and Jonathon Higle continue to do their job, disrupting pass games and forcing teams to run the ball.”

— Sports Editor Ben Barkley

Despite Haney’s absence, the Panther defense proved it can hold high-powered offenses to low scores.

Haney returned in time for region play to begin, but senior Ardit Hoti did not play due to a knee injury and freshman William Yarbrough played despite breaking a bone in his hand. 

  1. Haney’s return adds to already solid defense

Haney made his presence known in the middle, stopping Cardinal running backs at the line of scrimmage. 

Juniors Cole Bishop, Nate Kearns, and Jonathon Higle continue to do their job, disrupting pass games and forcing teams to run the ball.

Solid play from sophomore Colin Bartek and a healthy Hoti could spell trouble for even the top offenses in the region.

What to watch for this week:

This week, Starr’s Mill has the biggest region matchup of the year, facing off against the undefeated Griffin High School Bears. Through the first five games, the Bears have averaged 35.8 points a game, while holding their opponents to just under seven points.

Griffin relies on the pass game, so the Starr’s Mill secondary will have quite a challenge. If the Panthers stick to their strategy of running the ball to maintain possession and control the clock, it will come down to which team can play mistake-free football for 48 minutes.

The Panthers return to Panther Stadium this Friday to face Griffin. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. 

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    Scott BarkleyOct 4, 2019 at 8:29 am

    Insightful analysis from a high school media outlet. I look to the prowler more and more for SMHS and community news. Most HS Newspapers are glorified pep rallies or fan clubs.

    Cutting edge Prowler…. Keep it up.

    Reply