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Preview of Week 8: Murphy Panthers vs. Theodore Bobcats

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Murphy Panthers (2-4; 2-3) vs. Theodore Bobcats (4-2; 2-2)

It’s week #8, and region games become ever more important as the playoff picture starts to shape up. And this 7A Region 1 matchup will help shape the picture in the region. Both teams trail McGill-Toolen, Fairhope, and Davidson. The Panthers and Bobcats are fighting for the possibility of the fourth and final playoff spot from the region. A loss by either team will greatly hurt its playoff chances.

For the Murphy Panthers, 1st year head coach Muskingum Barnes will look to his senior quarterback Maurice Robinson who also leads the offense in rushing. Murphy heads into this week following a close loss to Foley which the Panthers had to rally back in the 2nd half but couldn’t pull out the win. Robinson is most of the offense alone, but he will need help from junior running back Anthony Miller and sophomore running back Breland Manely. Robinson’s favorite targets down field have been senior receivers Anthony Lewis and Michael Jefferson who have combined to catch 8 touchdowns this season. Murphy’s offense is averaging 27.7 points per game. The Panther’s defense will also need to set the tone early in this game as they have given up 52 points over the last two games and are giving up 20.8 per game.

Head coach Eric Collier is in his 5th season at Theodore and his Bobcats have had two weeks to prepare for this game as they had an off week and took a 39-0 victory over Enterprise. Senior quarterback Trevor Andrews leads an offense that is averaging 25.3 points per game. In the back field, Theodore has lots of options on the ground with the likes of junior running backs Davonte Washington and Jimmie Haywood. Through the air, Andrews favorite target has been junior receiver Hunter Tillman. On the defensive side of the ball Theodore is led by senior defensive lineman Timaje Porter who is a three-star recruit that has several offers including multiple offers from the SEC. Tyrone Hall is another senior starter in the defensive back field is another leader of a defense that is only giving up 11.2 points per game. 17 points is the most points this defense has given up in a game and that was in their only two losses.

Murphy holds the overall advantage in the series, 32-20 and the last seven straight over Theodore including the 21-14 win at Ladd Stadium in 2016. Theodore’s last win over Murphy came in 2009. Tune in to see who will be solidifying their playoff chances, kickoff is set for Friday at 7pm on UTV44.