ENID, Okla. —
“Speed doesn’t have a bad night,’’ said Pond Creek-Hunter football coach David Kerr.
Kerr is hoping he’s wrong Friday when his 10-1, No. 4-ranked Panthers visit 11-0, No. 2-ranked Wetumka in a Class B quarterfinal playoff game.
“They have the most team speed of any team that we have seen all season,’’ Kerr said. “Overall, they are the most athletic team we have seen. You really can’t compare them with any team that we have played this season.’’
The Panthers’ one weakness this season has been giving up the big play, something which Wetumka has lived on this season. The Chieftains scored at least 40 points in every game and scored 50 or more points seven times, including 92 against Bowlegs.
Laverne’s five touchdowns in a 36-18 win over Pond Creek-Hunter Nov. 2 all came on plays of 26 yards or more. Ringwood had four touchdowns on plays of 20 yards or more in a 54-42 loss to the Panthers Sept. 14.
“We have to make them earn everything they get,’’ Kerr said. “It won’t do us much good if we have a six- to seven-minute drive and they have a two-play drive to match us.’’
The Chieftains have two 1,000-yard rushers in Derrick Moore, who has gained 1,599 yards (10.95 yard per carry average) and scored 25 touchdowns and Chase Williams, who has rushed for 1,341 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Jake Briggs has completed 65 of 98 passes for 1,302 yards and 21 touchdowns. He’s thrown only three interceptions.
Williams has caught 32 passes for 642 yards and eight scores. Johnathan Adams has 10 catches for 338 yards and seven touchdowns.
Moore has both good speed (4.5) and power, Kerr said. Williams is known for his moves both as a receiver and runner. He’s even taken a few snaps at quarterback.
“They make you guard all aspects of their offense,’’ Kerr said. “The biggest key for us will be tackling those two guys. If we don’t tackle them, it’s going to be a long night for us.’’
If Pond Creek-Hunter tackles well, Kerr said, the Panthers should be in the game.
“It all boils down to being in the right position,’’ Kerr said. “A lot of times, though, being in the right position and making tackles are two different things. If you miss a tackle, they can get 60, 70, 80 yards.’’
The Panthers will be patient offensively.
Ball control is possible in an offense led by Brady Krittenbrink, who has rushed for 1,851 yards and 28 touchdowns and fullback Trenton Grimes, who has gained 765 yards and has nine scores.
Wetumka has used a 4-2 defense against a two tight end set and a 3-2 against a pro look. Adams (99) and Moore (76) are the Chieftains’ two leading tacklers.
“They do rather well in both,’’ Kerr said. “Everybody on their defense can run. We’re bigger than they are overall, but when they are coming at you at all angles, that tends to negate that stuff. We’ll try to use our size to our advantage, but I don’t know if that will work for us.’’
Pond Creek-Hunter has been effective throwing the ball the last two weeks. Quarterback Josh Irvin was 9-of-11 passing for 149 yards in a 46-0 rout of Paoli last week.
“Josh showed the other night he can throw the ball if we have to,’’ Kerr said. “We have confidence in our passing game if they stack the box.’’
Irvin, thrust into the lineup when incumbent Zach Rayner was injured in the preseason, has directed an attack that has averaged 48.6 points per game.
He is 67 of 107 passing for 1,178 yards and 14 touchdowns.
“He’s done everything we have asked him to do,’’ Kerr said. “When we have needed him to make a play, Josh has made the play. He has the ability to get the job done. It might not be the prettiest, but we’ll take the result.’’
Krittenbrink (113), Austin Matlock (103) and T.J. Krittenbrink (82) have led the defensive charge. The defense has intercepted 15 passes and recovered 10 fumbles.
Pond Creek-Hunter’s 46-0 win over Paoli last week was the Panthers’ first playoff win since 2007. Wetumka beat Welch 48-6 in its playoff opener last week.
“It was special for our seniors (who had lost three straight first-round games) to win a playoff game,’’ Kerr said. “It was a good deal for them.’’
The trip to Wetumka will take anywhere from three to three and a half hours. That won’t be a problem, Kerr said, since the Panthers are used to long trips to district foes such as Laverne and Merritt.
The team will break up the trip with some stops along the way, including one for a pre-game meal.
“Our kids have been on a lot of bus trips,’’ Kerr said. “Focus won’t be a problem.’’
The Panthers will be without starting center Karston Marsh. Guard Kyle Kitchen, who is playing with a torn ACL, saw only limited action last week against Paoli.
“Nobody is going to feel sorry for us,’’ Kerr said. “The guys who have stepped in have done a good job. We’ll go with who we got.’’
The winner will play the Keota at Fox winner next week at a neutral site.
Friday’s game can be heard on KXLS (95.7 FM).
PC-HUNTER AT WETUMKA
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Records: Pond Creek-Hunter 10-1,Wetumka 11-0
Last meeting: No recent meeting
Next: vs. Keota at Fox winner
Radio: KXLS (95.7 FM)