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Inside the Chrome Dome (archive September 2006)

Please refer to the Inside the Chrome Dome main page for columns published in other issues.




 Statistics in Panther Game Show Team’s Heart

This is a road the Knightstown Panthers have traveled before – just not this group.

Coach Bob Prescott’s young team is battling a great number of injuries and their own inner demons while suffering through a three-game losing streak.

Call it déjà vu all over again, but there are an amazing number of similarities between this team and the 1998 Panther group.

A closer look at those common traits should give Panther fans some hope that this team, despite a 2-4 record, could be poised to make some great things happen yet this season.

1998 – The Panthers lost 18 starters to graduation from a team that went 14-1 the year before, losing in the state championship.

2006 – The Panthers lost 18 starters to graduation from a team that went 14-1 the year before, losing in the state championship.

1998 – Knightstown was 2-4 and had lost three straight games, although they had been blown out just once, a 42-7 loss to Brebeuf. They were battling many injuries and were a young and inexperienced team.

2006 – Knightstown is 2-4 and has lost three straight games. They have been blown out just once, a 41-7 loss to North Decatur. Despite many injuries and a roster dominated by underclassmen, the team has given Eastern Hancock and Shenandoah better games than they expected.

1998 – The most recent loss was to Shenandoah 28-6, but the Panthers made several turnovers in the game and the contest was closer than the final score indicated.

2006 – The most recent loss was a 24-13 setback last Friday to Shenandoah in a game the Panthers actually led 13-12 late in the third quarter.

1998 – Getting healthier and gaining more experience, the Panthers turned the season around with a dramatic 27-24 victory over Tri High. They went on to win their last two games and finish the season 5-4. They then won two straight sectional games before losing the championship to North Decatur 7-6, finishing with a 7-5 record.

2006 – I’m no fortune teller, but Tri High is next on the schedule and anything can happen when these two teams battle for the Victory Bell.

Don’t take that as a prediction that the Panthers will beat Tri. I believe Coach Brian Peggs has his team playing the best right now among those in Sectional 37. They have won four straight games and the title is theirs for the taking. But the game will be another measuring stick for the Panthers as they continue to try and figure out who they are.

The Shenandoah game was a tough one to lose for Knightstown. They fumbled the ball away every time the defense gave them an opportunity to make something happen. But those turnovers can be traced to youth and experience, the elements, and the fact that they were playing a better and quicker team.

The Raiders dominated the game in every aspect, including rushing yards (273-37), total yards (328-87) and time of possession (29:25-18:35), yet the Panthers still had several opportunities to win the game. That’s called will, and this team suffers from no lack of heart. They are young, but players at key positions are gaining experience and confidence every week, indicating that anything is possible this season.


The Best at 3-3?

Could Eastern Hancock be the best 3-3 team in the state in Class A football? Their schedule and performance makes a strong statement.

The Royals just lost to 5-1 North Decatur 8-7 in a game they should have won and would have won had Brett Bragdon not been lost to injury. They held the Chargers to 90 yards of total offense in the game. A closer look at the teams who have beaten the Royals shows they have played one of the most difficult schedules in the state.

Eastern Hancock lost its season opener to Triton Central 30-6. The Class 2A Tigers are unbeaten and have stomped Heritage Christian 55-0, North Decatur 55-0, Brown County 42-14, Edinburg 62-0, and South Decatur 32-6 Monday night.

The Royals also lost to Indian Creek 29-8. The Braves are 5-1 and have defeated Edinburg 76-0, lost to Whiteland 33-21, beat Brebeuf 28-18, beat Brown County 52-14 and stomped Milan 53-6. The three teams that beat the Royals are 6-0, 5-1 and 5-1, a cumulative 16-2 record.

Triton Central and Indian Creek are ranked in both the Coach’s and Associated Press Class 2A polls. Assuming they stay healthy and Bragdon can return to full strength, the Royals will be one of the odds-on favorites to win Sectional 37.



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