NAUGATUCK – The Tug Valley Panthers have two games left in the regular season and still have hopes of making it into the Class A playoffs after a convincing 38-16 win over Mount View last week.
This week the Panthers, ranked No. 17 in Class A, will host Montcalm, which has a record of 1-6. The only win for Montcalm this season was against Hannan.
Next week Tug Valley will travel to Logan County to take on Class AA Man.
The last couple of seasons the Panthers and Hillbillies have had some battles. Man was in Class A at that time, but now they have moved up to Double A.
A win over the Billies could move the Panthers into the top 16 and in the post season.
But first things first – Tug Valley does not want to look ahead to next week.
“We had a good game Friday night but we need to keep going forward. At this point, we just have to take it one game at a time and see where the chips fall for the playoff hunt,” said assistant coach Justin Crawford.
“I was proud of my players last week,” said Head Coach Tony Clusky. “They executed the game plan very good. We have to continue to play at a high level. They know what’s at stake and will strive to make it as far as they can. Every game is a playoff game for us.”
Tug Valley has been led by a solid junior class. Quarterback Jonathan Blankenship, running back Dawson Elia, and fullback Noah Lucas.
The Panther’s coaching staff has been pleased with the play of the offensive and defensive lines. Some of those players include center Carson May, guard Andrew Dingess, tackle Josh DeBoard, tackle Josh Newsome and guard Brady Spaulding are all talented linemen.
Other players mentioned that have been contributing to Tug Valley’s success are split end Levi Davis, wide receiver Blake Dingess, tight end/linebacker Kyle Sturgell and linebacker Chandler Pack.
Crawford, who has been the coach in charge of the weight room, said the Tug Valley offense is averaging around 300 yards rushing for the season. He and Clusky give much of the credit for the running game to the offensive line.
The Montcalm game is an earlier 7:00 p.m. kickoff and will be senior night for the Panthers.
(Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Civitas Media Mountain District including the Williamson Daily News and Logan Banner. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)