PREVIEW: “When our final whistle blows this season, our gas tank will be dry”

The last regular season game in the Nova Scotia Student Athletic Association Football League (NSSAFFL) is between two old Nova Division acquaintances.

On Monday evening, CFC #39 Citadel Phoenix and Prince Andrew Panthers will meet once again.  While the Phoenix has locked up the first seed in the playoffs, the Panthers are fighting for the final spot.

“This year we find ourselves in a two way situation,” explained Panthers Head Coach Joe Flemming.  “If we beat Citadel, or if Horton defeats Auburn this week, we’ll find ourselves in the semi-final as the fourth place team in Division 1.”

“We’ve had some struggles this season, so this of course would be a tremendous accomplishment despite our hardships. We have a very dedicated group of players. And we have some great young athletes who play to win every time they step on the field. So we’ll be playing to win at all costs. We want to win our way into the playoffs. But I’m a straight shooter; make no mistake the opportunity to play in the semi-final, no matter what the mechanism is most important. So we’re also hoping for Horton to kick Auburn’s butt this week to help us along.”

Citadel - Gregory MacDonald

In spite of playing the top seeded team, the Panthers are looking forward to the matchup against the Phoenix.

“Playing against Citadel is always a fun game,” expressed Flemming.  “They play clean, fun, hard and smart football.”

“They are coached by some of the best.”

As for the Phoenix, this final game is a tune-up to their postseason run.

“Although this game is not significant for our final standings in the league, every game and every rep for us is critical because we need to improve and go into the playoffs with momentum,” commented Phoenix Offensive Coordinator Jon Dyer.

Ben Deturbide 3

During this battle, the Phoenix will be keeping their eye on certain Panthers players.

“Nick Green is certainly the one to watch on their offense,” assessed Dyer.  “He’s a running back turned quarterback and he’s a terrific athlete and football player.”

“They’re very creative with some of things they do with him and staying disciplined on defense will be the key to limiting their offense. They’ve got some good athletes on defense as well. Aggressive in coverage and they have a great linebacker who cleans up on a lot of plays. We are going to have to play assignment football and make sure we put consistent drives together.”

So how does the Phoenix plan to counter attack against their opponents on Monday?

“Our plan of attack is always the same, we try and stay balanced and unpredictable,” offered Dyer.  “But ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s about confirming any tendencies we’ve seen on film and making any necessary judgments.”
“Our defense has been aggressive all year and I don’t suspect that will change. We to put a lot of pressure on our opposing quarterbacks because we are very confident in the athletes we have covering on our back end.   Our success has been committee all year; we don’t have that obvious MVP candidate or the one dominant player. Every game, new kids step up and make plays when their number is called. We expect nothing different.”

Overall, the Phoenix are expecting a high spirited yet entertaining game against the Panthers. Moreover, these two teams may see each other a lot sooner rather than later.

“Prince Andrew has had some great success over the past few years, and historically for that matter,” added Dyer.  “We always have a fun, high energy game with them and I expect nothing different this time.”

“They have some talented football players and their coaches do a great job of getting the most out of them. Depending on how some of the games go this weekend, we could very well be playing them again next week in the Provincial semi-finals. Either way, we are going to approach this game like any other and make sure we put our best effort forward. There’s no time left in the season to take any steps back and we’re happy with where we’re going.”

Ultimately with a playoff spot on the line, the Panthers will leave it all out on the field on Monday night – win or lose.

“As always, I judge our success while looking in the mirror,” said Flemming.  “Week to week, I expect our guys to play better than the last – that’s my gauge.”

“As long as we continue to get better, I’m happy and confident we’ll get where we’re trying to go. We may have some bumps in the road, or in some cases, really big bumps like finishing the season with one, possibly two potential games versus Citadel. But just getting that opportunity is an indication that we’re doing good things and moving in the right direction. So we’ll be giving everything we’ve got in a push to make it to Championship. When our final whistle blows this season, our gas tank will be dry.”

Citadel logo

CITADEL PHOENIX:
2014 RECORD: 6-0
CO-HEAD COACHES: Mike Tanner, Jeff Lawley
PLAYERS TO WATCH:   Jon Harvey (offensive line – CFC 100), David Luke (quarterback), Tyler Martin (running back), Ian Farrell (receiver), Benson Auld (receiver), Marco Xidos (receiver), Quinton Milton (offensive line), Ted Curren (offensive line), Harrison Scholes (linebacker), Connor Gascoigne (defensive back), Nate Adams (defensive back),    AJ Case (defensive back), Jonah Williams (defensive back), Tommy Grant (defensive line), Jack Gillham (defensive line), Jacob Davis (linebacker)

Prince Andrew Panthers logo

PRINCE ANDREW PANTHERS:
2014 RECORD: 3-3
HEAD COACH: Joe Flemming
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Nick Green (running back), Ben Deturbide (defense)

Citadel Phoenix Photo credits:  Mona Ghiz, Ghiz Photography (www.GhizPhotography.com)

(twitter: http://twitter.com/vohra_ameeta)

 

 

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