Panthers' defense struggles against SV
LEESPORT - Panther Valley's practice regiment for Monday probably isn't going to change.
After last week's opening week loss to Mahanoy Area, Lon Hazlet had his Panthers working strictly on tackling.
The tackling drills will most likely continue next week as it turned out to be a bit of an issue in the Panthers' 47-6 non-conference setback to Schuylkill Valley.
Schuylkill Valley's Nick Scheidt and Edward Shuttleworth had no problems finding holes in the Panthers' defensive line. That was the story on the night as the Schuylkill Valley duo combined for 343 of the Panthers 439 rushing yards. Scheidt finished with 19 carries for 210 yards and three touchdowns, while Shuttleworth recorded 133 yards on 14 carries, with three touchdowns as well.
"It's like a broken record, but we just have to get tougher," Hazlet said. "We need to be more physical. We need to tackle better. And, we couldn't have done any more tackling this week in practice. It's just frustrating because in order to play good defense you got to be the hammer, not the nail.
"We're letting people take it to us a little bit and that's frustrating. You got to be able to finish plays. We just have to do a better job."
Scheidt and Shuttleworth both tallied first quarter scores, while Shuttleworth recorded Schuylkill Valley's lone second quarter score, which gave the hosts a 19-0 lead at half.
Prior to a Shuttleworth nine-yard touchdown scamper in the second, the Panthers put a solid drive together - even pushing the ball to Schuylkill Valley's own 10-yard line on 13 of Richard Nase's 79 rushing yards - only to see the drive end with failure on a fourth and 15 attempt on the SV 15-yard line.
Shortly after Scheidt scored on a nine-yard touchdown run to begin the second half, the Panthers finally pushed the ball past the red zone. In fact, Kyle Ferryman finished a 12-play, 81-yard drive by connecting with Nase for a 14-yard touchdown reception with 6:23 left in the third.
Shuttleworth and Scheidt were at it again shortly after the Panthers' lone successful drive.
After the Panthers forced Schuylkill Valley to a three-and-out, PV fumbled the ball on their own side of the field. With the short field, it only took Schuylkill Valley three plays to score again as Shuttleworth found the endzone one last time with a one-yard plunge.
After a PV three-and-out, Scheidt went on to match his teammate's effort with his third touchdown on the night. Scheidt found the sideline with ease and then put the entire Panthers' defense behind him quickly for a 64-yard touchdown that also put him over the 200-yard rushing mark.
Schuylkill Valley added another score, their final touchdown in the fourth.
It wasn't the kind of effort Hazlet wants to see from his squad.
"We had a couple of good drives," Hazlet said. "I think twice in the first half we were inside the 20 and we got to the half without any points. That's frustrating. So, I'm a little frustrated, but we will bounce back. We will be back to work on Monday. Like I said, we got good kids. We like the kids. We just have to be more physical of a football team.
"They played hard till the end. Our physicality is just lacking and that's frustrating."