Panthers Looking For Answers

Turnovers, penalties, and the inability to throw the ball downfield have plagued the Powell Panther offensive team so far this year. Head coach Matt Lowe and offensive coordinator Daryle Smith are still searching for an offensive identity with this group of offensive players.

Now to add insult to injury, or better said injury to insult, a pair of two-way starters are looking as season altering or ending injuries coming out of a 45-7 region 3-4A thumping at the hands of Maryville.

Starting fullback and outside linebacker Jordan Allen, a junior, fractured his hand in two places on Friday night. He is definitely out of this week's homecoming tilt with Farragut, but there is a possibility that he could wear a protective wrap around his cast and play on the defensive side of the ball before the year is over. Allen's injury was to be re-evaluated earlier this week.

Allen's class mate, Jonathan Price, also a two-way starter at wideout and corner, appears to have a fractured arm and could be out for an extended period of time, if not the rest of the season, as well. Price's injury is doubly hard to take as he missed much of last year after a foot injury that required surgery occurred in the South-Doyle game in week 6.

Combine the loss of two starters with an already struggling offense and the problems only mount for Lowe, Smith, and the rest of the offensive staff. At 1-3 overall and 1-1 in the region, Powell still has a good shot at keeping its 5 year playoff appearance string alive, but those offensive answers need to come sooner rather than later. After this week's game with Farragut, Powell will close the season with 5 straight region games – at South-Doyle, at home against Halls and Central, and then on the road to West and Clinton.

At this point, it looks like not much has changed in at the top of the region. Maryville and Central will meet next week (Sept. 29) at Shields Stadium in Maryville, with the winner having a leg up on winning the region and the loser more than likely finishing second. Knoxville West has rebounded from consecutive losses to open the season and looks to have that potent offense rolling like most thought it would coming in to the year. They have to be considered the odds on favorite at this point to take the third playoff seed from the region.

That leaves Halls, Powell, Clinton, and South-Doyle fighting for that final playoff spot. At this point Lenoir City looks to be the only team that likely won't challenge for that final playoff berth.

This is the final week that teams from region 3-4A will play non-region opponents. Beginning next Friday, it's serious business for the teams fighting for seeding and for those fighting just to earn available playoff berths.

For the Powell Panthers, the key down the stretch is to beat the teams that you could possibly finish tied with at the end of the year, which means that you would have the head to head tie breaker over them. The key games for Powell in its drive to make the playoffs are the contests with Clinton, Halls, and South-Doyle. Win those three games and you are in good shape to make the playoffs. Win two of the three and you may still need to pull an upset at West on October 20 in order to qualify.

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