The Saucon Valley Panthers are pumped up to welcome the Pen Argyl Green Knights into town for a “White Out/Youth Night” Friday night fight. Pen Argyl will likely arrive in ill-humor as they were embarrassed last week by the Wilson Warriors on their home field by a score of 43-8. Perhaps the Green Knights were looking ahead to the Panthers hoping to get a little revenge. Last year Saucon Valley made the trip up to “The Hill” and pummeled Pen Argyl 42-7.
Saucon Valley is coming off last week’s less than perfect 43-13 mercy-rule victory over the Bangor Slaters. When asked what the biggest “fixes” were for this past week of practice Coach Sams said, “We have to fix mental breakdowns in the secondary and make sure we keep contain on pass. We also need to clean up some of our blocking assignments up front.” Being that it is Week #2, the Panthers should be a little sharper against the Green Knights.
Things Worth Watching:
When the Panthers have the ball…
Offensively, look for Saucon Valley to build on the success of their potent rushing attack. Last week the Panthers rushed for an eye-catching 300 yards. Zach Petiet (#23), Steven Rose (#34), Ian Csicsek (#28) and dual-threat quarterback, Alstan Wolfe (#5), provide plenty of firepower for the Green Knights to deal with when the Panthers run the football. Saucon Valley also proved that they are hardly one-dimensional as Wolfe was 7 of 9 throwing for 105 yards and a touchdown in the season opener last week. Four of those completions going to Rose who likes to operate from the slot.
The Green Knights will likely come into this game planning to smother the Panther rushing attack. It would be wise for the Green Knights to also try and contain Alstan Wolfe on passing downs. Wolfie is “super-freaky” when he drops back to pass. He has no problem making the decision to tuck the football and run. Defensively, look for Pen Argyl to alternate between what will look like a 4-3 and a 5-2 defense.
Leading Pen Argyl’s defense are seniors Sawyer Beltz (#9) who is listed at 6’3″, 172 and Logan Sterner (#5) who measures 6’1″, 176. Beltz plays defensive-end and according to Coach Sams is tough and quick. Sterner, described by Sams as a “true stud”, lines up at safety and will make plays all over the football field. Both of these guys, along with the rest of the Green Knight defense, will try to break through the 2017 Hogs who held up admirably against the Bangor Slaters.
When the Green Knights have the ball…
Pen Argyl prefers to run the football from the “I-formation”. They will also run a shotgun-spread where they will mix in some pass with their run. It appears the Green Knights like to “toss-sweep” and “speed-option” running back Logan Sterner (#5) to the outside and get him into some space where he can gobble up the yardage. Saucon will certainly put an emphasis on containing Sterner. Sterner has a rock-solid resume. Last season he rushed for 1,532 yards and 21 touchdowns. Last week, he had a very respectable 15 rushes for 99 yards in the losing effort against the Wilson Warriors. Of course, Pen Argyl fell behind early and was forced to pass 24 times thus limiting Pen Argyl’s ground attack. If Sterner can get some production from his supporting cast, we could be in for an exciting game.
The Green Knight’s passing attack led by rookie quarterback Anderson Dear (#8), completed only 9 of those 24 passes with three interceptions. It appears Dear, a junior who is listed at 6’2″, 186, prefers to throw to junior Tad Barr (#2) when he is not pressured. Barr at 5’10”, 160, had three catches for 59 yards last week against the Warriors.
No matter, keep your eyes on Sterner (#5). He is Pen Argyl’s money-man and the Green Knight staff will be trying to get the ball in his hands. If he has a monster game, the Green Knights are probably keeping it close.
Coach Sams was quick to respond when asked what the Panthers keys to victory would be for Friday night. “Our first key to success will be to stop Sterner. He does it all for them and is arguably the best athlete in the Colonial League,” Sams continued, “We also need to continue our progress as a team and continue to get better each day. Pen Argyl historically will show us multiple defenses and we have to be ready to block all kinds of different fronts.”
Pen Argyl is going to fight like mad to avoid an 0-2 start to their season. Look for a courageous effort at the outset from the Green Knights, but much like Bangor, it seems the Saucon Valley Panthers have too much depth and talent to overcome.
Saucon Valley’s Montford E. Illick Stadium will be rocking as the “White Out” has been declared. In addition, the energy level will be high as many young football players and cheerleaders will be in attendance for “Youth Night”. The weather should also be pretty good for football as Friday night’s forecast is looking to have relatively cool game-time temperatures expected to fall through the 60’s into the upper 50’s. This all adds up to a great night for high school football. We will see you there!
Good luck Panthers, the Source is with you!