The Polytech Panthers’ football team has struggled recently, losers of three of their last four games after a 2-1 start to the season. Most recently, Polytech fell to Cape Henlopen 55-10 last Friday dropping the Panthers to 3-4 on the year.
This Friday night, the Panthers and Polytech High School will gather for their 2014 Homecoming Game when they host the Sussex Central Golden Knights (2-5). The Golden Knights will enter Friday night’s contest coming off a 21-20 win over Dover, just their second of the season and first victory since Week One.
With just three weeks remaining in the regular season, both teams seem to be on the outside looking in when it comes to the post season picture. However, a win for the Panthers would improve their conference record to 3-4 with two more games remaining against conference opponents, Dover and Sussex Tech, allowing them the opportunity to finish at best with a 6-4 record. As for the Golden Knights, they’ll be playing for pride and the chance at spoiling the Panthers’ homecoming game.
The Panthers’ offense should have opportunities to light up the scoreboard Friday night against Central team that allows nearly 35 points per game to opposing offenses, only Charter School of Wilmington and A.I. duPont allow more points per game in Division I football. On the other side of the ball the Golden Knights haven’t been particularly sharp on offense averaging just over 24 points per game, a number that’s aided by some late scoring in games where the outcome was already in hand.
In just their second season under head coach Kevin Smith, the young Panthers are still making improvements week-to-week as the growth of the program continues. Freshman quarterback Jared Wagenhoffer is back in a mix after missing time with an injury and these last few games will offer the opportunity for himself and other younger players to put more time in together on the football field.
Even with the playoffs seemingly out of reach, a strong finish from the Panthers would be another step in the right direction for the program. A win Friday night against a program with some past pedigree could go a long way toward helping Polytech establish themselves within the Henlopen Conference especially with the likes of Dover and Caesar Rodney stumbling a bit this season.