The Pauls Valley Panthers got back on the winning track last week with a key district win over the Madill Wildcats.

The win put the Panthers back in the district race with a 1-1 record and they will look to improve on that as they host Elgin this week.

The Owls are 0-2 on the season in district play, but last week put it all together in a 40-35 loss to No. 1 Seminole out of Class 3A.

“What they did to Seminole is scary,” head coach Glennis Ring said.

“They are playing with a lot of confidence after hanging with the No. 1 team in the state.”

The Owls will provide a huge test for the Panther secondary with a potent passing attack. They will line up with four receivers most of the time in a one-back look but will also put five receivers in a set also.

Quarterback Robert LaPreeze (5-10, 155) has thrown for almost 1,000 yards already this season.

“The quarterback is a good player,” Ring said. “He played well as a sophomore and has played really well this season.”

His favorite target is Michael Ryswyk (6-2, 185). Justin Poufibitly gives LaPreeze another solid target and Joey Knox gives the Owls a threat out of the backfield.

“I’ve watched them a couple of times on film,” Ring said. “They like to throw the ball around the football field. They have four and five receiver packages. They throw a lot of screens and quick hitters.”

The Owls are solid up front led by Danny McClury (6-4, 275). John Helzer and Austin Wood help McClury provide protection for LaPreeze.

The Panthers will get a big test defensively. The secondary came of age last year in the Elgin game and played well against the wide-open offense. They will look for the same thing this year against the Owls.

“We going to play a lot of zone defense in the backend,” Ring said. “We have to get our secondary players in the right positions and we had to get a good rush up front.”

Jermial Baxter heads the defense at linebacker and Helzer anchors the defensive line. The defense has giving up some yardage and points this year but has been in every game because of their high-powered offense.

A 7:30 p.m. kick awaits the Panthers and Owls at Thompson Field Friday night.

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