Panthers looking for first victory; will host Cedarville


Braylon Green of Fairbanks picks up yardage in this file photo. The Panthers will host Cedarville on Friday, looking for their first victory of the season.

(Photo submitted)

Something will have to give Friday when the Fairbanks High School football team hosts Cedarville.

Both squads suffered setbacks during the first two weeks of the season and will be looking for their first victory when they square off at 7 p.m. on Kyre Field.

The Panthers have displayed a more potent offense, having tallied 50 points during the first two weeks of the campaign.

The Indians, on the other hand, have been much more anemic by scoring just 14.

Cedarville will try to mix the passing and running games.

The Indians will at times use sets that feature a quartet of wide receivers.

At other times, they will put a tight end in the box in order to keep the opponent’s defensive fronts off-balance.

“They want to run the ball, but they’ve had to pass the first two games because they’ve been behind,” said Panther head coach Patrick Cotter.

Cedarville’s offense is led by junior quarterback Hunter Baldwin.

Other key players on that unit are running back Kane Odon and receivers Colby Cross and Max Pollander.

Cotter knows what his defensive unit has to do in order to halt the Indians.

“We have to play fundamental football and tackle,” he said. “If we do those things, we will be OK.”

Tackling, one of the basics in the game of football, was a huge issue during last week’s loss at Indian Lake.

Cotter said he has strongly emphasized that fact so far this week in practice.

He said it’s his hope that the Panthers have received that message “loud and clear.

“We also want to make them throw the ball,” he said. “That’s not what they are comfortable doing.”

The Indians will employ a 4-4 defensive alignment that may switch to a five-man front at times.

“Just how much they go to the five-man will depend on how much tight end we show them,” said Cotter.

“They run to the football well,” he said. “They’ve got a couple of linebackers – Odon and Zach Fair – who have noses for the football.

“We just have to make good decisions and get the ball in the hands of our skill guys,” said Cotter.

The Panther coach said everyone involved with the program has been pretty grumpy over the past couple of weeks.

“I’ve been told I’m not a good loser,” said Cotter. “We’ve got 36 other guys who are feeling that way as well… we’re bad losers.

“We just want to play with high emotion and with a little bit of a chip on our shoulders,” he said. “I feel we will be ready to go after playing a physical game last week.”

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