Pauls Valley Democrat
The Pauls Valley Panthers open up the Class 3A playoffs in Edmond at private school Heritage Hall. The Crusaders have won two state titles in the last five years including their last one in 2010.
The Crusaders don’t have a big name star like Barry Sanders Jr. or Sterling Sharp like they did a year ago but they still know how to win football games.
HH finished with a 7-3 record but all three losses came to teams rated in the top 6 of their respective class that included Clinton (4A- #6), Davis (2A, #2) and district foe Kingfisher (3A, #1).
The Crusaders have a balanced offensive attack that averages 359 yards per game. The ground game may be strong than the passing game but both are very potent.
A.J. Knowles (6-2, 220) lead the offensive attack with 651 yards rushing with 13 touchdowns. Connor McGinnins is second on the list with 526 yards but has passed for 1,286 yards and 13 touchdowns and has a 50-percent completion rate.
McGinnis has several targets including Cherdon Shockley who lead the squad with 745 yards and 8 touchdowns and McGinnis’ young brother Tyler.
Trent Saunders (6-2, 230) anchors the offensive and defensive line at center and nose guard.
T.J. Schellner leads the defensive charge with 78 tackles, 7 of which were sacks. Saunders leads the team in sacks with 10.
The Crusaders are on a six game win streak after losing the three in a row.
Pauls Valley got some good news this week and senior quarterback Joe Kyle Foster will be back in the lineup after missing the second half of last week’s game with Madill after getting injured on a late hit.
After winning five straight to qualify for the playoffs the Panthers have dropped back-to-back games. They played well for two to two-and-and-half quarters but they weren’t able to finish against Plainview or Madill.
They will need to put four quarters together against the Hall to get back into the win column and advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in a while.
Kick off at Heritage Hall, 1800 NW 122nd St. Oklahoma City, OK 73120, is at 7:30 p.m.