Searching for that elusive first district win, the Panthers are on the rebound.
Plano East (0-1, 1-3) hosts Lewisville (4-0, 1-0) this Friday at Kimbrough Stadium. The Panthers are looking forward to another matchup after losing to Hebron. The Hawks won by shutting out the Panthers in the second half.
Lewisville is the top team in the district and one of the top-ranked area teams. With a difficult matchup ahead, here are the three keys to Plano East defeating Lewisville.
1. Battle of the running backs
This game features two of the top running backs in the area. With a bye week, Plano East’s Ismail Mahdi is third in 6A with 863 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. In seventh, Lewisville’s Damien Martinez sits at 753 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns.
Much of the focus will be on the two standout players, and the better runner will likely win the game. Mahdi has been the catalyst to the Panthers’ offense all season. When it was clicking in the first half against Hebron, he had 140 yards and two touchdowns. In the second half, he was held to just 34 yards on the ground. It remains to be seen if offensive linemen Andrew Parker and Dawan Toliver will be available for Plano East, but the Panthers will need the two to keep the ground game going.
Defensively, Plano East’s front four have done a much better job slowing down the run in the last two games. Interior linemen Cedric Diggs and Aidan Miller have been two of the best defenders on the field the previous two weeks, while Chima Chineke and Braden Bergman set the edge. For Plano East to win, they’ll have to slow down one of the best runners in the Metroplex.
For the complete story, see the Sept. 30 edition of the Murphy Monitor. Support your community newspaper for less than $40 a year.
By Kyle Grondin • [email protected]