Battle Creek Game of the Week Preview: Pennfield @ Marshall
Week 5 is here for Battle Creek area high school football. With all four of our local teams on the road, the closest contest should prove to be an interesting one as both teams are looking to pick up their second wins of the season as the halfway mark clears. Pennfield travels to Marshall to take on the Redhawks tonight at 7 p.m. and WBCK will be there with live play-by-play coverage.
The past two weeks of broadcasts of the Battle Creek Game of the Week have seen both of these teams suffer difficult losses. In Week 3, Pennfield was handled by Parma Western 51-7. Last week, Marshall was swept by the undefeated Harper Creek Beavers 50-0. This week, the teams match up well in a pivotal matchup to see which of these programs can effort to turn their season around.
Pennfield's Outside Athleticism The Key for Panthers
What the Pennfield Panthers lack in size they more than make up for in athleticism. Isaiah Adams. Brenden Back, Je-Shawn Clark and Kaidan Guthrie are all dynamic players for Pennfield that can be dangerous on both sides of the ball. Adams is seeing more snaps at quarterback at this point of the season in an effort to spark some momentum and flash plays. Guthrie, the team's starting running back, is battling a hand injury and his availability is in question.
Injuries are the story of the week for Pennfield, particularly with Guthrie. His injury was one of several casualties in last week's loss to 31-20 loss to Jackson Northwest. The Panthers' depth and youth will be tested against the Redhawks.
Defensively, Pennfield matches up well with Marshall's spread attack that relies on screens to stretch the field horizontally. Dre'Shawn Bailey joins Adams in the defensive backfield and both players can swarm to these plays quickly. Standout sophomore linebacker Gavin May will handle any of Marshall's runs up the middle.
Marshall Has to Light the Fire Quick
The Marshall Redhawks have an offense that can get dangerous, once it gets going. While Pennfield matches up well on the outside, quarterback Austin Miller can breathe a slight sigh of relief that he won't be under quite as much pressure as Harper Creek's defensive front subjected him to. Getting the ball out early to Ty Keeler, Elliott Dodds and the Hackworth brothers, Vincent and Matthew, will be key to getting the offense in rhythm. Mixing in runs with J.J. Tucker and Jack Minor to test Pennfield's interior will also be monumental if the Redhawks are able to take advantage.
Defensively, the Redhawks are led by Akin Olapade. The Panthers like to establish the run before looking to the skies and Olapade can be a sideline to sideline threat against the Pennfield rushing attack, whether Guthrie plays or not. Keeler is also a talented defensive back who will by a fine matchup test against the likes of Je'Shawn Clark.
How to Listen
Tune into WBCK at 7 p.m. for the Battle Creek Game of the Week presented by the Battle Creek Community Foundation. The pre-game hosted by Mike Miller will air for 30 minutes prior to kickoff at 7:00. Myself (Jacob Harrison) and Da'Jzon Hughes will be on the call providing play-by-play and color commentary respectively. Mike Miller will follow the game with a postgame show recapping the game and the action from around the area.