Panthers, Rockets set for take off Friday in Oakwood

Was that Brandon Lester or a coal truck barreling through Oakwood last Thursday?

If you ask Chris Duble and the Northwood Panthers, they would vouch that Lester and coal truck are synonyms.

In a 52-30 Twin Valley victory, Lester could not have performed at a higher level. The senior tailback scored 38 of Twin Valley’s 52 points a week ago. The stat line was one that you may have read on your NCAA Football video game on your Heisman campaign in 2013.

The senior speedster had 22 carries, 195 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

Lester showed that his arsenal also had an aerial attack. With Tylor Keen sidelined for the second straight week, Lester was 3-of-4 for 37 yards and a touchdown through the air. He also converted for Twin Valley on four two-point conversions.

The Panthers senior leader had a performance that will go down as one of the best in 2018. It also was enough to name him the Player of the Week for week four.

Aside from Lester’s spectacular performance, Twin Valley had more to rave about.

Tailback Xzavier Ward had a career night for the Panthers. The sophomore carried the ball six times for 116 yards and a touchdown.

Ward also had a big night on defense where he came down with an interception.

Panthers’ freshman Wade Cantrell saw time at the quarterback position due to Keen’s injury. The freshman showed promise going 4-of-5 in the air for 80 yards.

The strong rushing attack amassed for 324 yards after the dust settled in Oakwood. Overall, the Panthers churned out 441 yards total offense in their first ever win over Northwood.

With a 3-1 record, Twin Valley hopes to return quarterback Tylor Keen in the lineup this Friday.

The Craig County Rockets have a 141-mile trek in front of them for their battle with the Panthers.

The Rockets’ contest last week with Montcalm, WV was rescheduled due to Hurricane Florence. Craig County will make that up on Tuesday, September 25th.

Craig County is 0-3 to begin the season with losses coming to Bland, Auburn and Nelson County. The three losses are the most recent in a losing streak that dates back 30 games. The Rockets have not found themselves in the win column since September 11th2015 when they defeated Eastern Montgomery 46-26 at Walton Mitchell Jr. Field in New Castle. That win, however, was the lone win in 2015.

Mark Harrison is in his second year at the helm in New Castle. Harrison returns eight starters on offense and eight on defense. The one thing Craig Co. has in their favor is experience.

Craig County High School is the smallest public school in the Commonwealth with a football program. This season, the Rockets fielded 27 players, which was nearly a double in size from the 14 Rockets who were ready for take off in 2017.

The senior class features nine freshmen that have yet to find themselves victorious at the varsity level.

Look for quarterbacks Dalton McPherson and Dakota Henderson to lead the way for Craig. The Rockets will also lean on senior running back Camron Fisher, wide receiver and defensive back Ben Deplazes amongst others in efforts to break the lengthy losing streak.

This is the second meeting between the schools all time. Twin Valley took home a 20-12 victory in New Castle in 2017.

A win for Twin Valley could notch the best start in school history for the Panthers.


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