NAUGATUCK – The Tug Valley High School football team is back on track after a tough loss to Sherman in Week 1.
In Week 2 last Friday night, Tug Valley returned to blank Meadow Bridge 37-0 and are now ready to face the Van Bulldogs in Week 3 in the ARH Kickoff Classic this Friday night at home.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
The Panthers have been on a two-year playoff spree and are looking to make this year number three.
The next obstacle is the Bulldogs.
Van is fresh off of a 41-13 win over the Phelps (Ky.) Hornets and are now 2-0 on the season after defeating Meadow Bridge in Week 1.
If you look at the scores from both Tug Valley and Van against Meadow Bridge you will see the Panthers handled the Wildcats better.
Van won the game against the Wildcats 20-6 while Tug Valley won 37-0. This is a good indication that the Panthers may have what it takes to edge out the Bulldogs.
What the Panthers will need to watch out for is a team that runs a basic offensive formation and they run it well, the Bulldog defense is a basic 4-3 with some blitzing in time of need. This is not new information to the Panthers as they saw the same package last season in their 34-21 win over Van.
Some of the players the Panthers will need to keep an eye on this game is strong safety/running back Alexander Gibson. Gibson is very quick and is a hard hitter from the defensive backfield.
Fullback/middle linebacker Gavin Smith does most of the backfield blocking for Gibson and most of the blitzing on defense, unless the Bulldogs decide to release defensive end Cole Price who works the strong side. The Van line is experienced except for a freshman center.
The Panthers have proved they have what it takes to handle the Bulldogs even with a 1-1 record.
QB Johnathan Blankenship has proved himself as a double threat to opposing defenses with the ability to throw and run. Blankenship is joined in the backfield with speedy Dawson Elia, Levi Davis and fullback Noah Lucas.
The Panthers had some luck last game passing the ball but this year’s team looks like a running squad.
The Panthers’ front line has contributed greatly to their success so far this season. Carson May, Andrew Dingess, Brady Spaulding and Josh Deboard are able to give the Panthers the edge they need up front.
(William Plaster is the sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News, he can be reached at 304-235-4242 ext. 2274 or at firstname.lastname@example.org on on twitter @sidplaster.)