With three more games left on the schedule, two at home and one in the Walkup Skydome, the Coconino Panthers are looking forward to having not to hit the road again this season.
“It’s great to be back at home. No more having to deal with traveling and packing is nice,” said Panthers head coach Jeremiah Smith.
Ranked No. 35 in the 4A Conference, the Panthers (1-6, 0-3) will face 21st-ranked Prescott (4-3, 2-1), who have earned all four of their victories on the road.
“They're tough. They have a good running back we will need to contain, but we’re ready,” Smith said.
Last week against Bradshaw Mountain, with junior quarterback Ty Furr back in the starting lineup, the Panthers continued to struggle offensively. Furr completed 6 of 25 passes, tossing two touchdowns and one pick-six. Furr, who started the year at quarterback, missed a portion of the season while struggling with injuries. He said he is healthy and ready to lead the team.
“I feel great. I’m coming along well. It’s great to be back on the field with my teammates,” Furr said.
Against the Bears last week, the Panthers were able to keep it close early on, responding to two deep Bradshaw Mountain touchdown passes with one of their own. In the second quarter, Furr connected with senior Abel Harris for a 17-yard touchdown to bring the score to 14-7. After that things fell apart for the Panthers, who gave up 35 unanswered points.
The last points for Coconino came on another Furr-Harris connection in garbage time, leading to a final score of 49-13.
As for the Prescott Badgers, who going into last week’s matchup against Mingus were averaging 30 points a game, only managed to put up six in a losing effort. In a game that had a similar flow as the Panthers' Friday night loss, Prescott hung around in the beginning, but gave up a string of unanswered points en route to the 38-6 defeat.
The home loss was not unusual for the Badgers, who have failed to appease their home crowd, going winless in three games. The road, however, has been a different story, for Prescott has thrived in the role of spoiler.
“(Friday night) will be fun. We just have to go out there and do what we have to do to get the win for the team,” Furr said.
The Badgers, along with Flagstaff, Bradshaw and Mingus, are all at the top of the Grand Canyon division and very much in the mix for the region title.
The Panthers and Badgers kick off at 7 p.m. Friday night at Cromer Stadium.