Panthers brace for physical battle with Houston Academy

Published 2:25 pm Wednesday, August 27, 2014

One of the most coveted rules of warfare is to know your enemy and know yourself, and a thousand battles will turn into a thousand victories.

Unfortunately for the Georgiana Panthers, Friday night’s enemy, Houston Academy, is an opponent the team has never faced.

The situation leaves head coach Ezell Powell forced to answer one question; what do you change to prepare for an opponent you’ve never encountered?

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The answer, surprisingly, is not much.

“You just prepare for them like any other team,” Powell said.

“You just take the film that you’ve gotten from them, evaluate it and just try to make adjustments according to what they do and what we do.”

The somewhat vague game plan doesn’t require much description.

Powell saw all he needed to see in the film; a fundamentally sound football team that’s well coached, physical upfront and, most importantly, hard working.

“They’re the type of team we need to face,” Powell said.

“We haven’t always fared well against those teams that are physical with us and are going to come off the football and hit us consistently, and that’s the style of football that they do.  They do throw it around some, but the guys up front are consistently physical with you no matter what.

“I think that’ll be a good test for us and a good measuring stick to see if our offseason program so far has helped or if we still have further to go.”

Fortunately, week one proved that the Panthers have made undeniable progress in at least one other aspect—offensive production.

Georgiana’s Friday-night battle with Prattville Christian saw scores from five different players, proving that the Panthers have a bunch of playmakers capable of producing in a variety of ways.

And Powell will be counting on them all Friday night to help secure a second non-region win, which is every bit as important in terms of establishing momentum for the Friday nights ahead.

“Sometimes, a win here and a win there sparks the difference in a whole season,” Powell said.

“If we can go in and get this win, it could change the outlook for our entire season because it’ll give us a lot more confidence in what we’re doing offensively and defensively, and the kids will go out and play with a little bit more confidence week in and week out because they know what we’re doing is working.  Confidence plays a huge role in success.”

The Panthers will host the Raiders at the newly-illuminated Harmon Field Friday night beginning at 7 p.m.