Powell Panthers Prepare for State Championship Re-Match

Written by on November 14, 2019

AFTER FINISHING THE REGULAR SEASON AT AN EVEN 4-4 RECORD THE POWELL PANTHERS ENTERED THE PLAYOFFS THE 4 SEED OUT OF THE WEST. IN THE FIRST ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS THE PANTHERS DISMANTLED LANDER VALLEY, THE ONE SEED IN THE EAST, 49-14. IN THE SEMI-FINALS POWELL WAS MATCHED UP WITH PARK COUNTY RIVAL CODY AND HELD THE BRONCS TO 30 RUSHING YARDS IN THE GAME, THE BRONCS LOWEST OUTPUT OF THE SEASON. NOW WITH WORD THAT ETHAN ASHER HAS BEEN CLEARED TO ATTEND STATE TITLE GAME IN LARAMIE, THE PANTHERS ENTER THE CHAMPIONSHIP CONTEST WITH ALL THE CONFIDENCE IN THE WORLD. I SPOKE WITH HEAD COACH OF THE PANTHERS AARON PAPICH AND ASKED HIM ABOUT THE CONSTANT MOTIVATION ETHAN HAS PROVIDED ALL SEASON.

IT STARTED, I THINK WITH ETHAN AND IT STARTED BEFORE THE ACCIDENT. THESE SENIORS, THIS TEAM AS A WHOLE, THESE GUYS WANTED TO BE HERE. FROM YEARS AGO TO THE SUMMER, TO ALL THE CAMPS WE DID, ALL THE HARD WORK THESE GUYS DID IN THE WEIGHT ROOM AT THE BEGINNING SEASON, THIS HAS ALWAYS BEEN ON THEIR MIND. WHEN ETHAN HAD THAT ACCIDENT THESE GUYS HAD A RESPONSIBILITY. THEY KNEW THEY HAD TO KEEP GOING BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT ETHAN WANTS US TO DO AND THAT’S WHAT THESE GUYS HAVE BEEN DOING. NOW WE GET TO BE WITH ETHAN COME FRIDAY SO IT COULDN’T BE ANY BETTER THAN THAT.”

LANDON LENGFELDER WAS THE NEXT MAN UP FOR THE PANTHERS TAKING OVER FOR ASHER AT THE QUARTERBACK POSITION AND HAS PLAYED ADMIRABLY. COACH PAPICH ON LANDON’S PERFORMANCE THIS YEAR AND HOW HE ROSE TO THE CHALLENGE.

HE’S DONE AN AMAZING JOB. YOU KNOW WE’RE NOT ASKING HIM TO BE ANYONE ELSE. WE’RE JUST TELLING HIM JUST BE YOU, AND HE’S GOING OUT THERE WITH CONFIDENCE AND HE’S JUST BEING A GOOD TEAMMATE. PLAYING WITHIN HIMSELF, WITHIN OUR SYSTEM AND WITHIN OUR TEAM. THAT’S WHAT WE ASK ANY OF OUR PLAYERS TO DO AND SO THOSE WERE BIG SHOES TO FILL BUT HE’S DOING AN AMAZING JOB AND HE’S DOING EVERYTHING THAT WE’RE ASKING AND NOW WE’RE IN THIS GAME AND SO IT’S BEEN GREAT.”

AS FOR THIS FRIDAY’S MATCH-UP VS. STAR VALLEY. THESE TWO TEAMS MET EARLIER IN THE SEASON WITH THE BRAVES COMING AWAY WITH A 30-0 VICTORY. THIS TIME AROUND THE PANTHERS ARE A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TEAM. POWELL IS HEALTHIER AND PLAYING ITS BEST FOOTBALL. COACH PAPICH ON GOING UP AGAINST THE BRAVES FOR A SECOND TIME.

WE JUST HAVE TO OWN OUR JOB, OWN OUR 20 AND THAT’S BASICALLY JUST DOING WHAT WE’RE SUPPOSED TO DO. DON’T PLAY OUTSIDE YOURSELF. I MEAN I SAY IT A LOT BUT THAT’S REALLY WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT, IS REALLY JUST TRUSTING THE GUY NEXT TO YOU AND DOING EVERYTHING TO THE VERY BEST OF YOUR ABILITY, WHATEVER THAT ROLE IS. THAT’S WHAT OUR GUYS HAVE BEEN DOING. I THINK IT’S GOING TO COME DOWN TO EFFORT. STAR VALLEY KNOWS WHAT THEY WANT TO DO. WE KNOW WHAT WE WANT TO DO. SO I THINK THE DIFFERENCE THERE IS JUST EFFORT, ATTITUDE AND PERFORMANCE.”

WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE BRAVES ON PAPER, IT’S A VERY DEEP TEAM. ONE THAT CAN BOTH PASS AND RUN THE FOOTBALL. COACH PAPICH ON SLOWING DOWN THE BRAVES OFFENSE.

I THINK STAR VALLEY’S STRENGTH IS REALLY THEIR TIGHT ENDS BECAUSE IT JUST CREATES A LOT OF GAPS BUT THOSE GUYS ALSO GO OUT FOR PASSES, THEY GO INTO MOTION, THEY DO A LOT OF THINGS. THEY REALLY STRING OUT THE LINE AND THEIR DOWN BLOCKS ARE REALLY, REALLY GOOD BUT WE JUST HAVE TO REALLY PLAY GOOD AGAINST THEIR TIGHT ENDS AND THEIR WINGS.”

HE GOES ONTO ADD WHAT THE DIFFERENCE MAKER FOR POWELL WILL BE IF THEY ARE TO COME AWAY WITH THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP.

“IT’S SUSTAINING YOUR BLOCK, SUSTAINING YOUR FAKE. IT’S ALL THE THINGS THAT YOU’RE DOING WITHOUT THE BALL. EVERYONE HAS A JOB, EVERYBODY HAS A ROLE ON THIS TEAM AND YOU’RE JOB IS TO DO THAT TO THE VERY BEST OF YOUR ABILITY, OTHERWISE YOU COMPROMISE THE GOAL OF THE TEAM. AND SO WITH THAT IN MIND, WE’VE GOT TO GO EXECUTE.”


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