Leader Blues

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

SPORTS >>HA Wildcats playing for league crown

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

Don’t tell Yellville-Summit that Friday’s game with Harding Academy is for the conference title; they are treating it like just another game. There is still an outside chance for Mayflower to end up as champions, but it would take Yellville-Summit beating HA, and then Mayflower beating Yellville to create a three-way tie that would be broken by conference points earned.
Both teams enter Friday’s contest at First Security Stadium in Searcy with undefeated conference records. The final two games on the schedule for Harding Academy are snoozers, along with the makeup game with Cave City that was postponed because of lightning a few weeks back.

The Panthers still have to face a tough Mayflower team, a team that Harding Academy had to come from behind late in the fourth quarter to get past. Panthers head coach Calvin Mallett knows his team is in for a tough fight, but says they will treat the Wildcats like any other opponent this year.

“I don’t think we’ve faced a team this year that can throw the ball as good as they do or have the kind of athletes they do,” Mallett said. “Even if you’re in their hip pocket, they are throw a drop out on you. We’ve got our work cut out for us if we’re going to stop them.

“Mayflower may have a lot to say about who wins the conference, obviously they are rooting for us to win this Friday, so they can try to beat us next Friday to create a three-way tie, so we just have to do what we have done all year and treat this just like another game.” It will be a game of very contrasting offenses on Friday. Harding Academy is well known as a spread team, and Yellville-Summit runs out of the tricky double wing-T formation. Mallett says senior quarterback Tim Murray is the heart and soul of the Panthers offense. Murray is just 15 yards shy of 1,000 yards rushing with three games still left to go in the season.

“We pretty much just put it in our quarterback’s hands and let him call the play at the line,” Mallett said. “He is pretty good at reading defenses, and adjusting wherever he needs to.” Along with a quarterback that can control things play-wise, the Panthers also have a big advantage over the Wildcats in terms of depth. With a 40 player roster, Yellville-Summit has no two-way players. The offense and defense each has 11 separate starters, something that could prove to be a huge factor late in the game.

The Wildcats and Panthers will fight it out for the title Friday in Searcy with kickoff at 7:30 p.m.