Panthers face high-powered Sweetwater offense

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With the 4A-2 District 1 title no longer a possibility after its loss to Greenwood, the Fort Stockton High School football team now turns its attention to closing out district with wins over Sweetwater (Friday, Nov. 1) and Lamesa (Nov. 8).

The Panthers were in the same position last year and closed out with wins to lock up third place behind Snyder.

This year, the Panthers will finish second if they win out and Pecos beats Snyder on Nov. 8 (and barring Lamesa upsetting Snyder this week).

Sweetwater has only one win in district, but has been putting up points at an impressive rate. A controversial call on a game-ending two-point conversion cost the Mustangs a win over Snyder last week.

With 28 points, Sweetwater put up the most points in district against Greenwood. Sweetwater has also been over 34 points in all of its other district games against Snyder (34), Pecos (49), Lamesa (45) and Monahans (34).

“They're as good as offense as anyone in the district,” said Panthers head coach Mike Peters. They have a great quarterback and are really good in skill positions. The offensive line is probably the biggest in district. They can move the football.”

Sophomore quarterback Leo Holsey is already a two-year starter. He has completed 106 of 187 passes for 1,938 yards with 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Holsey has also rushed for 409 yards and seven touchdowns.

“He's the best quarterback in the district – and the kid from Greenwood (Weston Wilber) is pretty darn good,” Peters said. “He can throw, he can run. He is tough to handle.”

Another sophomore, running back Cedric Brown, leads the team with 485 rushing yards and five touchdowns.

Junior Darian Carr is the team's leading receiver with 28 catches for 738 yards and six touchdowns.

Peters said Sweetwater is balanced between the pass and run, and using two-back and spread formations.

“They are a lot like us,” Peters said.

Panthers defense

Despite giving up a season-high 54 points to Greenwood, the Panthers defense is still second in the district in fewest points allowed at 94, and for the season at 142.

The defense has used speed to make up for being undersized across the front line – something it will have to do again against the big offensive front of the Mustangs.

The Panthers will again be without their biggest defensive lineman with Josh Hernandez out at least another four weeks with an injury suffered in the Monahans game.

Chad Mooney and Danny Valenzuela have been sharing time in Hernandez' place.

Peters said the team did not suffer any new injuries in the Greenwood loss.

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