Panthers rested and sharp heading into MPC play
While most teams still have a couple weeks before their conference openers, Ledford, coming off a bye week, welcomes Western Guilford on Friday to begin Mid-Piedmont 3A Conference play.
The Panthers (3-1) have won their last two — 41-35 vs. Southwest Guilford and 13-10 vs. East Davidson — in different ways. So, they’ve been pretty pleased with how they’re playing. But they also realize there’s still work to do.
“I feel pretty good with where we are,” head coach Chris Adams said. “Anytime you’re 3-1 you can’t complain. We played four good teams and seen a lot of things — we’ve seen a spread team; we’ve seen a run team. We feel like we’ve played a good nonconference schedule and gotten better because of it.
“But we’ve been emphasizing to the kids that what we’ve done doesn’t matter — everyone’s 0-0. We have to defend our home field, and we have to keep playing well. In our conference, it’s going to be a battle every night. So, we have to get ahead and stay ahead.”
Ledford, with its hard-running offensive backfield, has finished — winning both games in which the score was seven points or less after losing four last year. But, offensively, ball security and, defensively, tackling and lining up have been points of emphasis in the off week.
It has also worked on adding to its passing game, being efficient and on point when it needs to be, and its special teams. But, most importantly, it took the bye week to rest and recover — now being the healthiest it’s been all season, Adams said, as it focuses on facing the Hornets.
“This last week, we spent most of the time getting healthy,” Adams said. “After the first four games, we’re just fine-tuning what we do on offense and defense, adding a wrinkle or two. But the biggest thing was getting healthy and resting.
“Practice has been sharp and crisp, which has been good to see. This week, we’ve been trying to increase the pace and urgency. Western’s scored 96 points the last two weeks, which averages to 48 points per game. So we’ll certainly have our hands full.”
ANDREWS CATCHING FIRE
Since losing in week 1, T.W. Andrews has been a force among area teams.
The Red Raiders (3-1) have won three straight by a combined score of 169-13. Two of those wins — 42-7 against Grimsley three weeks ago and 61-6 against Bartlett Yancey last week — have been away from home.
That gives them some much-needed road experience, only the Providence Grove and Wheatmore games remaining away from Simeon Stadium, to draw upon should they need it in the playoffs.
Their recent play has also gained some state-wide attention, moving to No. 8 among state 2A teams in this week’s poll by The Associated Press. They were ranked near the top of the poll much of last season, in which they also lost in week 1 before winning 11 straight, but were unranked to start the season before being listed just outside the top 10 last week.