8/24 7:00 @
JCHS vs. GRANITE CITY
2005 Week #2 Game Preview
After narrowly escaping Springfield with a 2 point victory 34-32, the JCHS Panthers take their road act to Granite City to face the 8A Warriors. Jersey defeated Granite City 45-20 last season and lead in the current series three games to one.
In last season’s game, Coach Skinner went air-borne as they rolled to an easy victory. Friday’s game may be something completely different, as the Panther’s suddenly turned into a smash mouth football team in their win against the Senators last week. Three different Panther’s ran for over 100 yards including QB Andy Updike (122 yds), RB Struther Griffith (106 yds) and RB Trevor Cane (101 yds.) Meanwhile the air show was quiet with only a 54 yard pass from Updike to Matt Grundmann, that was hilighted by his ability to break tackles and find the goal line. Grundmann also stood out on the defensive side as he led all Panthers with six solo tackles. Much credit for the ground success goes to the offensive line which turned out to have been a pleasant suprise. The line consists of Center David Frye, Right Guard Jacob McGuire, Left Guard Carl Hill, Right Tackle Freddie Pohlman and Left Tackle Brandon Chappell. The line provided the holes that resulted in Panther ball carriers to gain 322 yards rushing on 55 carries.
On the down side, the Panthers showed plenty of Jeykll to go with the Hyde. The fourth quarter mental lapses allowed the Senators to stay in a game they seemed to be out of. After Trevor Crane’s 4 yard touchdown with 5:40 left in the game, the Panthers took a commanding 34-18 lead. The comfortable lead lasted all of 16 seconds when the Jersey special team nightmares from past seasons showed their ugly ways when Mike O’Conner ran the ensuing kick off, 92 yards and a touchdown.
That led to the most questionable call of the night as Coach Skinner decided to take his chances and gamble on a fourth down play from his own 41 yard line. A choice that worked earlier in the game seemed to backfire when it was needed the most, and it gave the Senators another opportunity to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Unlike the Panther attempt, Springfield’s gamble paid off as QB Drew Fendrich found Robert Smith for a 21 yard touchdown strike on 4th and four with 2:10 to play. That’s when the Panther defense rose to the occasion and prevented a Fendrich pass attempt for the 2-point conversion that would have tied the game.
Against Granite City, the Panthers will have to deal with a much more physical team then the Senators and also a team that is more familiar with smash mouth football. The Warriors played the Marion Wildcats from the South Seven Conference in week one, a game that took a similar turn as the Jersey game. Leading the Wildcats 10-6 with just 1 minute and 51 seconds remaining in the game , Marion back Trae Johnson dashed 38 yards for a Wildcat touchdown and a 12-10 victory.
Like Jersey, Granite City suffered their share of mental lapses as they fumbled the football away three times in the final quarter, including an early fourth quarter drive that had them at the Wildcat 1-yard line that resulted in a lost fumble on a third and goal play. Warrior QB Troy Howell then fumbled the ball in the final seconds of the game as Granite City was on the Marion 25 yard line.
The Warriors took a first half lead when Junior Bryan Parker scored on a 1 yard plunge that was followed by an extra point by Sophomore Anthony Barrios. Later Barrios booted a 30 yard field goal that lifted the Warriors to a 10-6 lead with 7:11 to play in the first half.
The Panthers will get a dose of their own medicine in week # 2 as the Warriors will try to run the ball down their throats. A Panther win will depend on their ability to stop Senior RB Joe Moore who ran for 111 yards on sixteen carries against Marion and Sophomore Ed Lance who gained 32 yards on 10 attempts. Senior QB Troy Howell is capable of putting the ball in the air as he demonstrated against the Wildcats, throwing for 76 yards as he completed 4 passes on 5 attempts. Howell’s favorite target will be Senior Jeremy Whitaker who had three receptions on Friday for 71 of Howell’s 76 yards.
Though the Warriors will not throw the ball 32 times as the Senators did on Friday, the Jersey secondary will need to shore their play up to prevent Howell from establishing a passing attack to go along with what will be a big running game. On the flip side, the Warriors have to worry about a more balanced Panther attack of running and passing. Anyone that has followed Coach Skinner’s squad over the years, knows that 55 runs and seven pass attempts does not exemplify what Panther football is all about, even with all of our new horses.
By Mike McInerney
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