PAULDING — After posting a victory at Bluffton last Friday, the Paulding Panthers enter week seven looking for their second straight win of the season when they host Delphos Jefferson in Northwest Conference play Friday.
Paulding (2-4 overall, 1-2 NWC) will take on a Wildcat team that has dropped three consecutive contests and given up at least 48 points in each of those losses.
Delphos Jefferson is 1-5 in all games and 0-3 in the league after losses to Crestview (48-6), Ada (74-70) and Allen East (54-8).
However, Panther head coach Tyler Arend says those scores are deceiving as the Wildcats battled all three teams in the first half of each game.
“They were able to get off to good starts in those three games,” Arend noted. “We need to come out ready to play and be able to play with intensity early on.”
The Wildcats have actually outscored the Panthers on the season 128-124. However, Delphos Jefferson is giving up over 49 points per game on the season while Paulding allows 29. The Wildcats are also eighth in the conference in first downs allowed (23.0), total yards allowed per game (487.3), passing yards (184) and rushing yards (303).
“Our offense did a nice job on Friday of establishing the run and we were able to get some key passes as well,” continued the Panther mentor. “We need to do that again on Friday and be able to exploit some areas that we think we can take advantage of.”
Panther quarterback Payton Beckman has completed 51 of 98 passes for 703 yards while Delphos Jefferson’s Logan Hubert is 37 of 82 for 595 yards.
Caleb Manz is the top target for the maroon and white with 20 catches for 325 yards. The Wildcats’ Colin Bailey has ten receptions for 159 yards.
On the ground, Fernando Garcia tops Paulding with 470 rushing yards on 98 carries while teammate Jacob Deisler adds 270 yards on 38 rushes.
Delphos Jefferson’s J.T. Taviano has totaled 380 yards on 66 tries to lead the Wildcats.
Coming off of a victory and looking to stretch that streak to two, Arend knows it would be a big confidence boost for the Panthers.
“Getting a win always gives the guys a little more confidence and just puts some energy into practices the next week too,” concluded the Paulding head coach. “Now, we need to go and play with that confidence on Friday. I have been pleased for the most part in the way we have prepared each week but we need to continue to build on things this week and keep getting better.”