INDEPENDENCE — Central football coach Joel Everett is hoping for more of a complete team to help generate more of a complete game for the Panthers this week.
Short-handed in recent weeks, Central has been battling uphill against tough competition. On Friday, the Class 5A fourth-ranked Silverton Foxes topped the Panthers 47-4 at Central.
The Panthers were missing 10 players for various different reasons, Everett said. The list of absences included key offensive cogs in junior running back Kohler Hernandez and junior back Ethan Dunigan, the latter dealing with a shoulder problem.
Silverton has been on a tear, averaging 36.7 points per game and holding opponents to 11.0.
The Foxes (5-1 overall, 4-0 in Special District 3) have explosiveness.
“Almost on every drive, they hit a big play and got behind our secondary or we missed a tackle in the open field,” Everett said.
Silverton QB Jordan McCarty, who puts up big numbers every week, had five passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns, one from 69 yards.
It didn’t help the Central cause that the Panthers had two punts blocked and failed to recover a pair of Silverton onside kickoffs.
But, “our kids battled hard,” Everett said. “They never gave up against a really good team.”
Still, “I’d like to play Silverton again with all our guys,” he said.
Central was without five defensive backs and two linebackers, he noted.
“Our line played really well on both sides of the ball,” he said. “But all of the backs we had left were playing both ways, and they were just getting gassed. That’s a lot of snaps.”
The Panthers (1-5 this season, 0-4 in SD-3) will go to Crescent Valley on Friday for another league game, this one kicking off at 7 p.m.
Crescent Valley also comes in at 1-5, 0-4, and off a 27-10 road loss to Dallas.
The Raiders, even though they have averaged only 13 points in their last five games, have weapons on offense and a competent passing game with sophomore quarterback Rocco McClave and a tall receiver in senior Jake Leibelt.
Both teams won on Sept. 3 — Central 40-24 versus Redmond, Crescent Valley 28-27 in Portland over Lincoln — and have lost five in a row since then.
“They’ve got some good athletes,” Everett said, “and I think they’ve been a little snakebit, just like us.
“There’s no easy game in this conference.”