6-1 Petal hits the road to NW Rankin

By JESSE JOHNSON,

The Petal Panthers sit atop the 6A Region 3 standings with four games remaining in the regular season.

Many have looked past Petal during the season, but with quality wins against No. 4 Brandon and No. 9 Pearl, the Panthers have proven they belong in the conversation as one of the best teams in the state.

Games against Brandon and Pearl were both decided on the last play of the game.  Coach Marcus Boyles is proud of the toughness his team has shown and recognizes that closing out the games in the fourth quarter is a big step for the team’s direction.

“Brandon made a run in the fourth quarter of the game and our kids responded with some great drives late for us,” Boyles said. “I was pleased with the character our kids showed and the persistence in continuing to do things right.”

“Closing out games late gives our kids confidence moving forward. Beating two really good football teams means a lot for our kids. We are really proud with their play as of late and we feel good closing out the regular season of play.”

This week the Panthers take on Northwest Rankin who is also undefeated in district play. The Panther defense will be challenged as the Cougars are balanced on offense. Northwest Rankin is averaging 147 yards in the air and also 134 yards on the ground.

Junior Zachary Beasley has completed 80 of 148 passes for 909 yards and has added seven touchdowns passing.

P.J. Lindsey has led the ground attack for the Cougars with 801 yards rushing and totaling nine scores in seven games thus far.

“We have to stay focused this week,” Boyles said. “We understand when we do things right in practice and prepare the way we should, we have a chance to be really good on Friday. Northwest Rankin is a great football team and we will have to prepare mentally and stay focused on executing our game plan.”

Kickoff is set for 7 pm at Northwest Rankin.