The mission couldn’t be any clearer for the Petal High football team.
Win or go home.
For the second consecutive week – and for the second year in a row – the Panthers face a must-win situation.
If Petal is to qualify for the Class 6A playoffs, and a seventh straight postseason appearance, the Panthers must defeat Terry in a Thursday night special at Panther Stadium.
“The playoffs actually started for us last week,” said Petal coach Marcus Boyles. “We were in a situation where we had to win against Forest Hill to get to this week. It’s the same situation we were in last year.”
The only difference in Petal’s situation from last year is the Panthers’ record coming into the final game of the regular season. A year ago, Petal had just two losses in Region 3-6A. This year the Panthers are 3-3.
But the Panthers still had to beat the Bulldogs to get the fourth seed in the region, and that’s the case this week as well.
“The kids know we need to win to extend our season,” Boyles said. “Hopefully, we can win this week, get into the playoffs and go from there. It’s the same scenario as last year. Luckily, we get them at home this time. Last year, we had to go over there.”
It didn’t make much difference, as the Panthers blasted the Bulldogs 49-7. Boyles is hoping Petal continues to play at a high level this week.
“We’ve played pretty well the last three or four weeks,” Boyles said. “Unfortunately, we got beaten by two really good teams in Brandon (28-21) and Meridian (41-38) in that time.”
Petal (6-4 overall) has gotten it done all season with its offense. The Panthers are averaging 35.4 points per game, tops in the district.
The defense, which had eight new starters this season, has been inconsistent, but it played extremely well last week in a 34-6 victory over Forest Hill.
“Our defense has been up and down,” Boyles said. “But we’re starting to play better on that side of the ball.”
If Petal wins, it would be the fourth seed in the region and would travel to play the champion in Region 4-6A, whoever that might be. It would either be Ocean Springs, Hattiesburg or D’Iberville.
“We’re starting to get some kids back healthy,” said Boyles. “We’re really healthy right now.”
Game of the Week
Terry at Petal
When: 7 p.m. tonight
Where: Panther Stadium, Petal
What: Region 3-6A football game
Records: Terry – 4-6 overall, 2-4 region; Petal – 6-4 overall, 3-3 region
On the Air: WGDQ-FM (93.1), playonsports.com/petal