The Petal Panthers head into Friday’s game at Laurel with a 3-0 record and are looking to keep things on track. The Panthers defeated Laurel 27-0 a year ago at home but have to play ‘between the bricks’ on Friday night.
After Petal defeated Brookhaven 42-10 on Friday, Coach Marcus Boyles was pleased with the balance on both sides of the ball.
“The game went well,” he said. “We played consistently on both sides of the ball. I felt like we played a complete game this week. Our defense is playing well for us. We are continuing to get better each week and I’m pleased with where we are right now.”
A key factor to the Panther’s success this year is good play on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
The defense is giving up an average of 10 points to opponents with 37 tackles, five sacks, and one interception.
On the offensive side, the Panthers are currently second in area Pine Belt schools with 271 yards on the ground per game and 104 receiving yards adding 15 total touchdowns.
This week will be a tougher opponent than the Panthers have seen in past games, and Boyles is fully aware of the speed and athleticism of the Laurel Tornado squad, especially the quarterback position. Xavier Evans’ first two games have totaled 589 passing yards and six total touchdowns.
“Overall the team has speed on both sides of the ball,” Boyles said. “Evans is a guy who can make a lot of plays. He can play in the pocket but also scramble around on the run. He plays well with his feet but can throw the ball down field as well. Those skills, with the mixture of two good receivers, make this team fun to watch.”
Laurel and Petal have played one another the past four years resulting in a 2-2 record. Minus the 27-point win the Panthers had a year ago, the other three games were decided by a combined five points. This year’s contest looks to be a great one. The game will take place ‘between the bricks’ and is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff.