Panthers fighting Demons

By John Earp

This Friday at Panther Stadium, the Jal High School Panthers Varsity Football Team (3-0) will face the Dexter Demons, a likewise undefeated 3-0 team, for Homecoming. Head Coach Dusty Giles says Dexter is a “very much improved” team from last year, and will definitely present a challenge for the Jal Panthers. “They’ve got a quarterback who can go, fast running back, line’s blocking well, off to a 3-0 start, so they’re in a much better spot than they were last year,” Giles said.

When asked about the fact that in the past two games the Panthers have looked strong in the first half only to fade in the second half, though still winning, Giles said that with Tularosa “it was more like a conditioning thing, we kind of wore down in the second half.” Against Hobbs JV last week, Giles said, “I think it was just lackadaisical. We were up 34-0 and I think they thought that we were just going to walk away and not have to play, so we got proven wrong on that. I think the same thing happened twice, two different things. We’re definitely working on both of those to make sure we play four quarters.”

When asked about the Panther susceptibility to their opponents’ passing game these past couple of weeks, Giles agreed with that and said the secondary is “improving at a pretty good rate, but we’re still not quite there yet. Our run stance coming in was already going to be pretty good. We’ve got some guys returning in those spots, and so it has been. It’s been really good for us, but our passing game is coming. I think we defended way better than scrimmage week one, you know, in these last couple of games. I think when we get in those district games, I think we’re going to have both those units working better together. Our skills guys, we’ve pretty much retooled all our skill guys, so they’re all learning and we’re getting them coached up as quick as we can, and they’re taking coaching well. I think we’ll get them to where they needed to be.”