There are some eery similarities between this season and last season as the Fort Stockton High School football team plays host to the Greenwood Rangers at Panther Stadium on Friday, Oct. 25. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
• The Panthers come in 6-1 with one loss – to Snyder – and coming off a rivalry win over Monahans.
• The Rangers come is with a perfect 8-0 mark and in first place in 4A-2 District 1.
• The Panthers come in with an outstanding defense and a potent – Monahans only had 14 snaps in the second half – but a sometimes inconsistent offense that can be dogged by penalties, turnovers, missed conversions, and red zone failures.
• The Panthers again come in as the only team with a shot to knock Greenwood out of first place.
• The Rangers come in with an offense capable of big plays, as well as grind-it-out drives. In a 41-0 win over Snyder, Greenwood had scoring plays of 60, 52, 29 and 25 yards. In a 58-6 win over Pecos, Greenwood scored on plays covering 99, 86, 30 and 25 yards.
“Greenwood – they're not ranked No. 3 in the state by accident,” head coach Panthers head coach Mike Peters said. “They're a really good football team, but we have a really good game plan for them and we plan on putting on a good show here.”
Last year's game
Last year, the Panthers scored first, only to see the Rangers score 28 unanswered points in a 28-6 win. It was big plays than made the difference, as Greenwood scored touchdowns on plays of 69, 42 and 28 yards.
This year's Panthers team is faster, hitting harder and has more depth. The team that relied on two main players last year in Cole Daggett and Nick Johnson, this year sees a number of players step up top make big plays each game.
The Panthers have an all-senior offensive line and a half-dozen running backs capable of scoring on big plays and is short-yardage situations.
Fort Stockton's passing game has struggled in last week's win over Monahans, the team had 50 yards on 4-of-11 passing and four interceptions. The team made up for it by rushing for 434 yards, including 127 yards by quarterback Dominic Aguilar and 110 by Gabe Calzada.
On the year, the Panthers have rushed for 2,011 yards 20 touchdowns. Five players have thrown passes, completing 64 percent of passes for 809 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Greenwood is led by first-year head coach Rusty Purser, who is not only a Greenwood alumnus, but also the son of the man the Rangers' home field is named after – Bob Purser.
The team has 26 seniors who played varsity last season on a team that reached the regional quarterfinals.
This season, depending on the poll, the Rangers are in the Top 5 in the state.
Senior wide receiver Brody Ray, running back Trey Cross and Jantzen Baker, Sr., defensive end Weston Wilber, Sr., and quarterback Ryan Snodgrass are key returning players for the Rangers.
Peters said Snodgress is the best quarterback they team will see in the regular season.
The team runs a multiple-look offense that mirrors pro-style sets. The defense remains in a base 4-3.