Processed Thoughts on #1 vs #2

Coming into this week, all of the hype in Knoxville was aimed at Thursday night's rivalry game between the Powell Panthers and West Rebels. I could not wait for this one to kick-off, and this game did not disappoint. After back to back interceptions by both teams to start the game, this bout turned into an exciting one. I want to touch on a few topics that I have thought about in the last 24 hours.

One of the first things that came to mind is the talent level and experience. Both West and Powell possess great talent on both sides of the ball. West may have the more experienced roster with QB Baker Dance, RB Isaiah Mattress, LB Ethan Scott just to name a few as Seniors on the team. Mattress and Scott stood out as their performances were key in West’s victory Thursday night. Powell has the Sophomore heavy roster, but they are talented and that makes up for some of the experience that they do not have in comparison to West. I will say this and it may be obvious, but Powell isn't going anywhere anytime soon. I still look for Potts, Foust, Greene, Jones, and Collins amongst others to make some noise into the playoffs and for some time to come.

We all know the final score of 39-27 in favor of West, but the game wasn't that far off in my opinion. Powell ran more plays and gained more yards than West, but where the two teams differed was the turnover battle. Powell gave the ball up three times during the game, one resulting in a defensive touchdown for West in the latter moments of the game. West only turned the ball over once, and that was on their first drive of the game. Powell also couldn't get the running game going in this one. Sophomore QB Jordyn Potts went 29-44 for 372 yards and 3 passing touchdowns and a 5-yard rushing touchdown for a total of 4 on the night. The not so good side of his night was the 3 interceptions that came with it. On West’s offensive output, they pounded the ball and made a point to control the line of scrimmage. West had 314 yards on the ground Thursday night, with 103 of those yards coming from Isaiah Mattress. West has a good running back by committee approach, as Mattress, Jai Hundley, and Tre’von Barfield share time and all three get the job done and they do it well. I was impressed by Barfield's big-play potential, as he had some huge runs on the night including a 68-yard dash to the house, and averaged 11.6 yards per carry. Quarterback Baker Dance even ran for 63 yards and a touchdown as well. So West’s rushing attack served well and they took care of the ball as well.

The old saying is, ”Defense wins championships.” Having said that I can't forget the defensive standouts of the game. West’s Ethan Scott had a big night with 6.5 tackles, 2 Sacks, and 2 Interceptions that included a five-yard pick-six. His partner Andrew Gilbert also contributed 6.5 tackles, 5 for loss, and 5 sacks in the game. West has been known for having a great defense all season long. In the end, that was the biggest difference in this game. They often played around in the backfield and caused Potts to improvise quite often during this game. West as I stated earlier controlled Powell’s ability to run the ball effectively.

Teams can win shootouts, but you have to be almost perfect in doing it. Powell fell short in this hard-fought game. If you take away 3 turnovers and the lack of rushing, this game would have been a lot different. Powell also ended up in 3rd and long situations throughout the game and had to go for it on 4th several times. All in all, both teams played a tough game and football is a great game that teaches life lessons. Powell still has the opportunity to play for more and greater rewards. I look for this team to bounce back from this and come out stronger for the remainder of the season and into the playoffs. To be honest, I want to see this matchup again down the road. These two will hopefully meet again in the playoffs, and then we will see if Powell gets the last laugh or will West continue to laugh.

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