PORTAL — The Portal Panthers held a bonfire Thursday night as part of the school’s homecoming festivities. The Panthers would like to stay hot against Treutlen in their final home game of the season.
The Panthers (1-7, 1-4 Region 3W-A) want to play well in their homecoming game. They want to possibly spoil a playoff bid by the Vikings (3-5, 2-3 region). Most of all, they just want to get another win.
“We just want that win,” head coach Cherard Freeman said. “That’s what the kids are focused on.”
If the Panthers can finish Friday night’s game with that winning feeling, they might also change the look of the playoffs. Treutlen is bidding for a chance at a play-in game that could put the Vikings in the playoffs. The Panthers are playing with nothing to lose.
“We’re playing for pride,” Freeman said.
The Panthers expect to wide open passing attack from Treutlen. Freeman said the Vikings will throw the ball in excess of 40 times a game and target a variety of receivers. Staying consistent will be important for the Panthers.
“The key for us is not giving up the big play,” Freeman said.
When the Panthers are on offense, the key—as it has been all season—will be execution. Treutlen runs a defense similar to what the Panthers trot out. Not that the defensive scheme matters.
“Whatever they run on defense, we just have to make our calls and execute,” Freeman said.
Just over eight months after bringing Freeman in as head coach, the Panthers are still adapting to running the spread option system. Confidence plays a big part in how well the team plays and Freeman thinks the offense is coming along.
“I think the guys are still coming in and buying into the system and learning every day,” Freeman said.
A win at homecoming over a team trying to make it to the playoffs would go a long way into helping the Panthers buy into that system even more.