Panthers aim to keep winning streak progressing on the road against Quitman

Gerren Smith
Staff Writer

After prevailing over cross county rivals’ Poyen 43-14 in last week’s 3rd annual Backyard Brawl showdown at Kenneth W. Hammons Stadium, the No. 6 ranked Magnet Cove Panthers (4-1 overall, 2-0 conf.) travels on the road this Friday, October 11, 2019 to face the Quitman Bulldogs (4-1, 1-1 conf.). Kickoff is at 7 p.m., at Bulldog Stadium in Quitman. The Panthers have won their last four games since falling short to Mt. View in their season opener on August 30. Since then, the Panthers have showcased some impressive play on the gridiron through Week 5 of Arkansas high school football.
Magnet Cove football head coach Caleb Carmikle is pleased by the Panthers performance to have won four straight games and starting the conference 2-0. This week, Carmilke anticipates another competitive road challenge against the Bulldogs. Its Quitman’s homecoming and the Bulldogs will be extra motivated and pumped to battle Friday night. Carmikle knows the Bulldogs lost a tough game last week to Cutter Morning Star (34-7) and will come out aggressive and physical against the Panthers. Quitman will look for redemption from suffering their first loss of the season to Magnet Cove as the Bulldogs started to the season 5-0 heading into the 5-2A Conference match-up.
The Panthers have proven this season they’ll be one of the top contenders in the state for Class 2A. They’ve averaged 47.6 points per game behind a line that allows their ground attack to average 383 yards rushing this season. Playmakers’ senior running back Landon Stone has over 1, 000 (1, 156) yards rushing this season and senior quarterback Tyler Hodges follows with more than 700 yards rushing. Stone showcased another monster game on the ground last week against Poyen by accounting 321 yards rushing on 25 carries for three touchdowns. Stone sparked for a 92-yard touchdown run against a tough Poyen defense last week. QB Hodges has passed for 455 yards passing to complete 36-for 79 passes this season. Hodges has scored 21 touchdowns this season and has Stone racked up 13 end zone trips to the promise land.
Carmikle feels if the Panthers continue to maintain high-scoring performances, it helps them have a productive chance to go far into the postseason. “If we keep scoring like this towards the end of the year, it can be a fun season,” Camikle said.
Magnet Cove’s defense has also been key this season. The Panthers’ defense held a productive Poyen Indians team to only 14 points last week and he knows Magnet Cove must defend well on the road.
The key for Magnet Cove is to start fast and productive. The Panthers have executed well in their previous four games, which led to at least a three touchdown win margin. The Panthers have a lot of momentum going, but Carmikle wants his squad to stay hungry and focused. “At this point, we are 4-1 overall and 2-0 in conference and trying to keep the kids focus. We have to prepare like we have a chip on our shoulders each week and just continue to keep striving to be a good football team,” Carmikle said.
The Panthers have a long bus trip this week and with more rain in the forecast again, may cause this contest to be challenging to compete against the Bulldogs. Friday’s game is expected to be cold for a wet field, but Carmikle feels this is a big game for the Panthers. He said its a good test to see how focused we are and how well they’ll respond coming off a big “W” against Poyen. “Friday will be a big game for us,” he said.

“We beat Quitman at home last year and they were undefeated. This year, Quitman is built different. They have a big and strong running back and a quarterback that throws the ball well. They have some size upfront and well coached, Carmikle said. The Quitman Bulldogs run the spread formation offensively with a no huddle up-tempo base style. Carmilke said the Bulldogs are very similar to Poyen and with a 4-front defensively and like to mix it up. The Bulldogs also have a solid inside linebacker and a strong, tall defensive end. According to Hooten’s Arkansas Football, the Bulldogs are picked to finish the 5-2A Conference sixth voted by league coaches. They’re currently ranked as the No. 27 team in the state for Class 2A amongst the 42 teams in 2A.