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K.O. Bay Rivers Preview: Smithfield @ Bruton

September 24, 2010

       By: Kellen Owings 

         The Smithfield Packers and the Bruton Panthers will square off in week three in a matchup of defending district co-champions.  Both Smithfield and Bruton start the season 2-0, both with one win the Bay Rivers District.  Smithfield needed a late goal line stand to defeat Warhill 28-21 last week, while Bruton dominated New Kent 46-7.

          Bruton QB Elliott Rice went off for 147 yards rushing and five touchdowns, while Smithfield running back Demonte McClary ran for 157 and four TDs.  Both runners and running games will be featured, just as they were in last year’s matchup.

          Bruton won last year’s meeting 16-7. The Panthers were able to go ahead using the run, then controlled the clock by running inside.  Bruton’s quick defense was able to contain the Smithfield running game, preventing the Packers from running outside and getting the ball into space.  Smithfield tried to control the clock as well, but just weren’t able to complete enough passes to do so.

          Bruton also features running back D’ Anthony Lee, who is back on track and off to a good start after blowing out his knee last year.  Deep with backs, the Panthers will look to run and run often, especially with Rice’s speed at the QB position.  The Panthers have some big play ability in the passing game with WR De’Arius Olvis, one of the districts best athletes. 

          The Smithfield Defense is young, and still poses a bit of a question mark.  They have been getting good play from their line, lead by Corey Wells.  The defense was able to come up big last week against Warhill, stopping QB Shaun Cvengros a yard short of the end zone in the final seconds.  However, the Packers are inexperienced in the secondary, and they can be exploited by the passing game.

          Smithfield will run a ball-control, power offense with Demonte McClary and Corey Wells at fullback.  McClary is the perfect back for this offense, a good blend of speed and power.  James Wrenn is a steady hand at QB, who can run as well, enabling the Packers to run some option.  A very good offensive line, lead by Travon Tynes and Zach Emerson, will explode off the ball and help get McClary to the second level.  The Packers will look to exert the power running game, but Wrenn will need to be on his game to allow them to do so.

          Bruton has good speed on defense, and will use it to blitz frequently.  Olvis is a big playmaker at linebacker and hits hard.  They have aggressive corners in Capri Doucet and Rice who will look to take advantage of throws under pressure.

          Smithfield will try to exert their strength on the Panthers, and win the game in the trenches on both sides of the ball.  They want to employ their power running game, while stopping Bruton’s ground attack.  Bruton will lean on Rice to make plays with his arms and legs.  If the Panther running game is successful, that will open things up for the play action pass, and the Packers can be taken advantage of in the secondary.

          I think this game will play out a lot like last year’s did.  Both teams will focus on establishing the run, and will be able to do so fairly effectively.  The key is which team can complete enough passes to stay on the field, and convert third downs.  I think Bruton is better prepared to do so.

          The game will see some more points that last season’s version.  Elliott Rice will make enough big plays on the ground and with his arm to fuel a win, but Smithfield will be able to keep it close on the strength of their line play and running game.  

Prediction:

Bruton 21 Smithfield 14

 Kellen Owings

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