By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
POND CREEK, Okla. —
Wetumka has lost once in 23 games. By a point. In overtime.
The good news for Pond Creek-Hunter, Friday’s visitor to undefeated district B-4 champion Wetumka, is the Panthers notched that rare win, beating the Chieftains 41-40 in the second round of the 2012 state playoffs.
“They’re undefeated again and No. 2 for a reason,” PC-Hunter coach David Kerr said. “Besides Laverne, they’re definitely our toughest matchup this year.”
Friday’s quarterfinal figures to hinge on the matchup between Wetumka’s high-powered offense and PC-Hunter’s defense. The Chieftains have averaged 51.6 points per game through their first 11, scoring Class B’s fourth-highest total with 568 on the season.
PC-Hunter’s 84 points allowed is second to only Rejoice Christian in stinginess, but the Panthers expect Friday’s test to be the toughest since a 40-6 loss to Laverne, PC-Hunter’s only defeat this season.
“They’re a tough team,” said senior running back Trent Grimes. “Seriously, they’re the second best team, if not the best right now … “It does give us a bit of an edge (to have beaten them), but we can’t overlook them.”
The Panther defense got back on track after its worst outing of the season, shutting out B-2 No. 3 seed Central Marlow 38-0, intercepting the Bronchos three times — two by corner Zach Rayner — and racking up seven tackles for loss. Against Wetumka, the Panthers will contend with one of the state’s best 8-man runners in Chase Williams. The senior back has rushed for 1,402 yards and 27 scores in 2013, averaging a gaudy 12.52 yards per carry along the way.
“It’s a tough matchup,” said Grimes, who has rushed for 1,118 yards and 17 scores in his first season as the Panthers’ lead running back. “It’s as tough as Laverne, if not tougher. They have a great running back in Chase Williams, and a quarterback (Jake Briggs) that’s a threat. If we shut them out that’d be great, but they can score since they’ve got a lot of weapons.”
Wetumka was challenged just twice in its first 11 games, winning two games by eight points and the other nine by 18 or more. The Chieftains have forced 28 turnovers, three more than even PC-Hunter’s stalwart unit, and have held opponents to 18.6 points per game.