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Scout O’Connor Panthers: The Balanced Attack!

Sunday, September 03, 2006
There is no time to relax for the undefeated Madison Maverick Varsity Football Team as their season schedule does not get any easer after their Thursday Night victory over Seguin at the AlamoDome. The Mavs will travel across 1604 to Farris stadium on Friday September 8, 2006 to take on the 1-0 O’Connor Panthers. The Panthers, a 2005 Playoff team will be playing their Home opener and looking to go 2-0 to start the season. O’Connor has built itself a nice program under Head Coach Danny Padron, and has made the playoffs the last couple of years. Last years team made it to the 2nd round of the playoffs before being defeated. O’Connor will bring a very disciplined balanced attack on both sides of ball to the game, just as they have done for the past couple of years. We got a chance to watch the panthers play Reagan this past week and win 27-7 in impressive fashion.

Panther Offence: O’Connor does not bring blazing speed to the field when they have the ball; instead they play a physical style of strait forward running mixed in with enough passing to keep you honest. When running the ball they will come right at the defense and try to punish tacklers that get in their way. There running backs wont break off 60 yard TD runs but run smart and hit the holes quickly to gain 5-10 yards a carry. The Panthers will start TJ Horney at tail back, but will split him out wide and might even let him throw the ball as he played some QB as a Soph and some as a Jr. Horney is a smart ball runner and won’t make many mistakes. When Horney is not in the back field the Panthers don’t loose much with back up Junior Aaron Casanova.

If there was a question of why Horney would not go back to QB before the year started, those questions were laid to rest with the performance and emergence of Jr QB Bruno Reno. Reno is not a big threat to run the ball but made some nice throws against Reagan and has a decent arm.

O’Connor is notorious for spreading the ball around to deferent receivers and this year’s team looks no different. Lucky Muhlemann is more than likely the fastest guy on the field for O’Connor but what will impress you about this 5’8” 150lb WR is he has great hands and catches everything thrown his way. O’Connor will run several plays to get the ball to the FB in the flat or to the TE across the middle. When these guys get the ball they seem to thrive on running over and thru DBs on their way up field.

O’Connor will not be flashy on offence but they will try to be effective when they have the ball. Watch for the panthers to try and get the ball in Horney’s hands as much as possible during the contest.

Panther Defense: O’Connor’s defense, like the offence, does not bring a lot of speed to the table instead they will do everything they can to contain and execute assignments. The last thing the panthers want is for speed running backs to get to the outside so they will try and keep everything and everybody inside the numbers and in front of them. Reagan had some success bouncing runs outside or running sweeps to the sidelines. O’Connor’s D-Line is big and will plug up the middle; the strength of the defense is the Line backers lead by Senior Eric Gentry. The panther’s defense likes to make the big hit and meet RBs in the hole to stand them up. Once they have a running back slowed down the defense swarms to the ball. They are all very disciplined and covered the screen and trick plays nicely against the Rattlers.

Panther Special Teams: The Panthers have an average special teams unit. Against Reagan they short kicked kick offs to keep the ball out of the hands of the speed guys in the back. They covered well on punt coverage and did a decent job on kick coverage. Lucky Muhleman will return punts and kickoffs and has good vision in the open field. The panthers Field Goal kicker and Punter are a little inconsistent but above average for high School kickers.

Panther Coaches and Extras: Danny Padron is one of the best in the area at recognizing his team’s strengths and weaknesses and adapting his playbook to give his kids the best shot at winning. He does not ask his kids to be something they are not and he gets the most out of his team. They are always well disciplined. The key to O’Connor’s game will be the clock and time of possession. They will, as they did against Reagan, try and keep the opposing offence on the sideline and will try to run twice as many plays as their opponent limiting their opportunities. The last time these two teams met was last year at Farris stadium, Madison and O’Connor got in a slug fest and went back an forth before Madison DL Eddie Pitts fell on a fumble late in the game sealing the Mavs victory. This year’s match up should be just as exciting.



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