A contest featuring former KVA rivals had serious playoff implications Friday night at Pennfield High School. The Olivet Eagles, facing its rival in the Pennfield Panthers, needed a win in the final week to reach the six-wins plateau and clinch a spot in the postseason.
Behind Olivet’s Chase Martin, the Eagles defeated the Panthers, 49-26, to improve to 6-3 on the season and advances to playoffs.
“It’s a big game when we face them (Pennfield), even though we aren’t in the KVA anymore,” Panthers’ head coach Gabe Priddy said. “We still look at this as a good rivalry, and our kids enjoy playing them. We look forward to this game each year; they are a good team. Now, we have to find out who we are going to play. We felt like we are starting to get some of our identity back with our physical run game.”
Pennfield finishes the season at 3-6.
Early on, it was the tale of fourth-down conversions.
Pennfield quarterback Parris Bolden’s play-action fake froze the defense leaving wide receiver Dillon Striplin open on a shallow route for a 15-yard, fourth-down score to make 7-0 with 1:31 in the quarter.
Similarly, the next drive for the Eagles had the same results. On a fourth-and-1 attempt from the 13-yard line, Olivet’s Wyatt Smith took the hand-off and found the end zone for the equalizer, 7-7, with 9:56 left in the half.
But the Panthers would respond three minutes later. Bolden, again, took a snap, dropped back three steps, and hit wide receiver Grant Petersen on a 25-yard corner route to make it 14-7.
Then, before you could blink, Olivet’s Martin took a sweep 52 yards for the score to knot the game at 14-14. On the next Olivet drive, Martin broke to the outside for another long score – this time from 47 yards away with 2:03 left in the half to make 21-14 at the half.
Olivet’s first drive in the second half resulted in a score, as the Eagles’ Smith took a give to the strong side of field and alluding tackles before finding the end zone for the 28-yard score for a 28-14 lead. On the following Olivet six-minute drive, it resulted in a score with 11 seconds left in the third, as the Eagles’ Smith tip-toed in the end zone for a two-yard score to stretch the lead to 35-14.
With 9:22 left in the game, Smith, again, capitalized from short yardage – two yards – to give the Eagles a 42-14 lead. Pennfield would counter with two scores, but the Eagles’ final touchdown with 4:30 left in the game would be all the scoring the team needed.
“Our kids battled the whole game,” Panthers’ head coach Mike McGuire said. “I’m proud they kept battling. … We need to get in the weight room this offseason. We have to get stronger, and that will help us for next season.”
For Olivet, Martin had 11 carries for 171 yards and two touchdowns, while Smith had 18 carries for 140 yards and four touchdowns. Pennfield was led by Bolden who had 24 carries for 107 yards and a score.