NAUGATUCK – The Tug Valley Panthers are set to host the Valley (Fayette) Greyhounds on Friday night.
After a disappointing loss to Buffalo during the “Mud Bowl” last week, the Panthers are looking to bounce back with a big win. The Panthers have drudged through two tough games and are going up against a Valley team that has yet to win a game this season. The Panthers are feeling the loss of 6 foot 5”, 340 pound, all-state lineman, Dusty Mills, who was injured in an automobile accident last week.
The Panthers recorded their first loss of the season two weeks ago to Class 2A Tolsia. Then the weather and game conditions turned a tough match-up into a slippery mess in which the Panthers fell to Buffalo by a score of 19-0. The game against Tolsia was close until the fourth quarter where the Rebels pulled away. The conditions during the Buffalo game hindered the Panthers from establishing their crucial passing game.
There is a possibility for rain this Friday as well. If so then the Panthers may need to rely on their run game. Corbin Oliver leads the Panthers in rushing yards this season with 371 rushing yards on 36 carries; he has added three rushing touchdowns. Phillip Lucas follows closely behind with 304-yards rushing on 52 carries and also has three rushing touchdowns. Jeremy Dillon has recorded four rushing touchdowns and 209-yards on 38 carries. Tyler Conley and Dawson Elia have each recorded two rushing touchdowns.
Conley has done well in the offensive driver seat this season; the talented quarterback has connected with Calvin Blankenship and Dillon for four passing touchdowns each. Blankenship leads the Panther receivers with 393-yards on 14 total receptions. Conley has completed 37 of his 77 passing attempts for 606-yards and eight passing touchdowns; he has only thrown two interceptions all season.
Conley also leads his team on the defensive side of the ball with 40 total tackles through six games. Dillon and Noah Lucas are just a few tackles short of Conley and Ike Starr comes in with 32 total tackles on the season. Starr remains the team’s leader of creating pressure in the backfield with nine total tackles for a loss.
The Greyhounds have faced both Sherman and Meadow Bridge during the season and lost to both teams. They lost to Sherman by a score of 33-18 and lost to Meadow Bridge by a score of 50-6.
The Panthers have also faced off against both Sherman and Meadow Bridge. The Panthers defeated Sherman by a score of 36-7 and beat Meadow Bridge by a score of 64-28.
The Panthers will enter the game with a record of 4-2 and Valley enters the game with a record of 0-6. The Panthers dropped in the state rankings after the loss to Buffalo but are still within the range for playoff contention.
(William Plaster is the sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News, he can be reached at 304-235-4242 ext. 2274 or at [email protected] or on twitter @sidplaster)