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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 21, 2017

Pekin not perfect, but still alive

By Justin Webster | Oct 03, 2017
Photo by: Kevin Rohr Pekin’s Levi Long (11) catches a pass.

SULLY - If you outrush your opponents, commit fewer penalties, and force more turnovers, you’d expect to have the same kind of success that Pekin has gotten used to.

Friday night was an anomaly in that regard when the sixth-ranked Panthers fell 35-7 on the road to class A district 6 rival and ninth-ranked Lynnville-Sully.

Panther Coach Brent Blakely said, “Statistically, we had a decent night moving the football, but they did a nice job of keeping the big play from happening. We gave up too many big plays in the first half and put ourselves in a situation where we had to do things that aren’t our strength. I thought our kids played hard all four quarters and that’s what I’m most proud of.”

Most of the offense was gained on the ground where Monico Requena rushed 23 times for 186 yards and the lone score for Pekin, with Dayne Eckley adding eight touches for 43 yards. Requena also caught four balls for 36 yards out of the Panther backfield, while Levi Long, Chandler Eckley, and Keaton Baayen combined for four catches and 13 yards.

Defensively it was Chandler Eckley leading the team with 5.5 stops, followed by four a piece by Hunter Conger, Cameron Millikin, and Kaden Baker. Other defenders making tackles included: Zach Hammes, Keaton Baayen, Dayne Eckley, Skyler Juhl, Drake Harbison, Torell Washington, Ethan Cooksey and Connor Reed.

The loss puts a sizeable road block ahead of Pekin who now must win out to have a chance at the playoffs, let alone a district title, but coach Blakely is optimistic.

”You never know. If we take care of business, we may get another shot at them. We will most certainly grow this week and move forward putting our focus on Winfield-Mt. Union.”

A Panther victory at Winfield-Mt. Union this week, coupled with a New London loss at Lynnville would set up a default runners-up duel for the A-6’s second playoff slot. If Pekin winning is paired with a Lynnville loss, the Panthers could back their way into a district title with some help. The Panthers would need a win over New London in addition to a Montezuma upset versus the now sixth-ranked Hawks in Lynnville’s road/season finale Oct. 20. With the team from Packwood on a week 10 bye, it could prove to be a long week of waiting.

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