Panthers have what it takes to pull off a win against Number 4 Longhorns

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A host of Duncanville defenders wrapup Waco Midway’s top running back in a close 42-36 game. (Karla Estrada photo)

A host of Duncanville defenders wrapup Waco Midway's top running back in a close 42-36 game. (Karla Estrada photo)
A host of Duncanville defenders wrapup Waco Midway’s top running back in a close 42-36 game. (Karla Estrada photo)

Here we are, 2 days away from possibly the biggest game of the season as the Duncanville Panthers take on the defending 5A State Champion  Cedar Hill Longhorns at home Friday night. Duncanville, a rejuvenated team, has an actually chance to pull out a huge upset in this game. Nobody outside of the city of Duncanville believes this but as a sports writer who has watched this team all year, I believe we will win.

The Panthers have been playing the best defense they’ve played in years. Any team playing defense like this team has so far has a chance to beat anyone. Defense is the key to beating a state champion. Now both teams are in the 6A division, easily one of the toughest districts in the Texas. In this district, two of the top 20 teams in the Nation are listed. The Desoto Eagles holding the number 7 spot and the Longhorns of Cedar Hill holding the number 17 spot .

To win this game, Duncanville needs to be consistent. To defeat the Longhorns the team must play full force all four quarters. If they start giving up easy touchdowns, they’re in trouble. Cedar Hill is an offense based team, but the defense isn’t too shabby either. They aren’t completely dominant but they can hold a team when they already up two scores. Duncanville cannot allow this to happen. Even though Duncanville is a “fourth quarter” team, being down more than ten points at any time in this game is not an option.

This year the Panthers have given everything all the way to the end even in games when it looked as though they did not have a chance. This is the same team that was down 35-15 against the number 8 team in Waco Midway and held them to only 7 points in the last half and pulled near a win losing only 42-36. Give props to the conditioning of this team, they will last all four quarters. This is a huge advantage for the Panthers. Cedar Hill’s defense has been criticized for being outlasted in games. Yet their offense is so explosive, it really helps the defense’s stamina. No defense has to show much hustle when already up 30 points in a game with three minutes left in the game.

Now, how can Duncanville have a realistic shot to win this football game? Consistency. This is what they have to do to keep the game close. If they’re able to stay in the game and give the offense plenty chances to score, they have a huge shot to pull off the win. The Panthers will need as many possessions as they can get on offense and they need to attack the deep middle of the field or the seams. They must target Cedar Hill’s safeties. They are very vulnerable to the deep ball. I would expect many plays down the field from the Panthers. As far as the run game goes, I would expect them to stay away from it. Over the past few weeks the Panthers have had less than 50 yards on the ground. Cedar Hill has a trio of very good linebackers led by Texas A&M commit Richard Moore. He stops the run as well as any middle linebacker in the country. Duncanville has some great receivers for the screen with Kevin Bell Jr. who is averaging 45.2 yards per game and Le’arius Allen who is averaging 40 yards per game.

Matchups this game will be huge too. The matchup of the night that everyone in the stadium will be looking for is Xavier Brown against Cedar Hill’s  University of Tennessee commit, cornerback, Darrell Miller. Expect them to go head to head all game. Xavier will win a couple of possessions but Miller will come back just as strong for Cedar Hill. This matchup will determine the game I think.

For Duncanville’s defense, a double team on one of the best receivers in the nation is certain. Damarkus Lodge will be a huge threat to Duncanville’s secondary as he is averaging 50 yards a game on the ground and is headed to Baylor to play in next year. They cannot let Lodge get deeper than anyone on the field. If he does, it calls for trouble every single time as know how to find the deep ball. If he can be held to under seven catches and a touchdown, Duncanville has a huge chance to win this game.

Everyone has penciled this one in as a big fat loss for the Panthers. However, when you break down every part of the game, they actually have a realistic shot to run away with this much needed win. This game will depend on Duncanville’s offense being consistent and the defense has to be on their “A” game for all 48 minutes. Nothing will be given to this the Panthers they will have to earn the win under the Friday Night Lights in their own house.