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Panthers prepare for Class 2A#039;s best

After capturing the first win of the 2006 season, the Georgiana Panthers will face perhaps the toughest test of the year Friday night as they host the No. 1 Southern Choctaw Indians at Harmon Field.

The Panthers' offense struggled in the opening game of the season against Class 5A Greenville but regrouped for 400 yards Friday in the 34-21 win over region foe Bayside.

Ronald Scott was the team's leading rusher with 165 yards on 20 carries and one touchdown while quarterback Andre Paige rushed for 47 yards on three carries and threw 5-of-9 for 91 yards and one touchdown.

Scott, Paige and Zebbie Mitchell all stepped up for the Panthers during the Bayside win and Georgiana first-year head coach Donald Ray Mixon said the same must happen in order for the Panthers to have a chance against the No. 1 Indians.

&#8220We've got a huge game this week,” Mixon said. &#8220We're going to have to play a whole game.”

Southern Choctaw is coming off a 15-7 win over Excel this week and Mixon said the Indians' size presents the biggest problem for his team.

&#8220They are huge and they can run the football,” Mixon said. &#8220They almost look like Greenville.”

From top to bottom, Mixon said the Indians are as talented as any team he has seen.

&#8220They play hard the whole football game,” Mixon said. &#8220They are a well-rounded football team.”

While Georgiana doesn't seem to have many advantages over the Indians, one thing the Panthers do have going for them is that this week's game is the first home game of the season.

&#8220Since I've been here, we play well at home and the kids get excited about playing in front of our fans,” Mixon said.

If the Panthers were to pull out the upset victory in front of the Georgiana faithful, Mixon said it would be huge.

&#8220(A win) would be huge for our team and our community and it would give us a whole lot of confidence,” Mixon said.

If playing Greenville and Southern Choctaw in two of the first three weeks wasn't tough enough, the Panthers have to turn around and play another Top 10 opponent in Leroy next week.

Kickoff for this week's showdown with the No. 1 Indians is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday night at Harmon Field in Georgiana.