Updated Thu, Oct 27, 2011 9:13 pm
Jim Rockwell Stadium will host one of the most important games the MVL has seen this season on Friday. The New Lexington Panthers will welcome the Sheridan Generals to town for the final week of the regular season with both teams fighting for their playoff lives.
For the Generals the solution is simple: win and they're in. Sheridan saw its undefeated season come to a crashing halt last week with a 38-14 loss to Tri-Valley, but still holds the final playoff spot in region 11. A loss, however, would knock coach Paul Culver Jr.'s squad out of playoff contention despite winning its first eight games.
On the other side of the coin, coach Bill Nutt and the New Lex Panthers are undoubtedly the Cinderella story of the conference this season. The Panthers are 7-2 after winning just two games all of last season. Still, coach Nutt isn't about to compare this year's team to last year's.
"We've made it an effort not to talk about last year," said Nutt. "These kids have worked very hard... They've come back this year more determined to be winners."
The key for the Panthers this Friday will be executing the pass. Sheridan has proven to have holes in the secondary as evidenced by Tri-Valley quarterback Nathan Strock lighting them up for 209 yards passing with a pair of touchdowns. On the flipside, coach Nutt acknowledged the Generals' strength in the run game. Generals running back and Gridiron Glory "Player of the Year" finalist Mitchell Fouch leads the MVL in rushing yards, and will likely hear his number called plenty of times in this must-win game.
Coach Nutt made it clear that regarless of what happens against Sheridan, he has truly enjoyed the 2011 season.
"It's a shame that this season is going to end soon," said Nutt. "We've really enjoyed these young men and we're real excited to see what we can do Friday."
If the Panthers can get the win against the Generals, their season might end later than coach Nutt thinks.