The Monroe County Falcons head to Paducah this Friday to battle the powerhouse Tilghman Blue Tornado in the second round of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Football Playoffs. Tilghman, predominantly one of the most athletic programs in the state, poses some matchup problems for the Falcons on both sides of the football.
But for the Falcons and head coach John Petett, the bigger the challenge the better.
“Paducah Tilghman is so athletic and they’re no strangers to us,” said Petett. “We’ve played them in each of the last two seasons and we understand the quality of athlete we’re going up against on Friday. They’re fantastic. They can take it to the house on every single play and their defense is so aggressive and so active. It is one of those games where we hope we catch them on a bad night.”
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CT at Paducah Tilghman High School. Friday’s winner will play either South Warren or Fort Campbell on Nov. 22.
The Blue Tornado come into the game with a 6-5 season record, including victories in the last five contests. Paducah Tilghman has beaten McCracken County, Madisonville-North Hopkins, Fort Campbell, Trigg County, Webster County and Adair County.
Their losses have been to Reitz (Ind.), Mayfield, Graves County, Highlands and Henderson County.
The Blue Tornado have three players that run the ball very well. Trevante Coleman has 725 yards and five touchdowns on the season, while Djuan Sherrill had 568 yards and four scores. Quarterback Jessie Dunigan has 285 yards and four scores on the ground. He has also thrown for 1,351 yards and 15 touchdowns.
“Coleman has size and speed and they try to get him the ball a lot,” Petett said. “Sherrill runs the ball well and the quarterback can run the ball, too. This team has dual threats everywhere. If you try to stop the pass, they can hurt you with the run, and vice versa. We’re going to have to gamble on some defensive things and see if we can make them make mistakes or put them in a position they’re not comfortable with.”
On the season, Paducah Tilghman is averaging around 30 points a game, while giving up 20 per contest. But over the Blue Tornado’s current five-game winning streak, Tilghman is averaging 40 points a contest, while giving up only five points a game on defense.
“Ever since I’ve been here we’ve tried to hang our hat on aggressiveness on the defensive side of the ball. If we can set the tone on the defensive side, we will eventually find something that works on offense,” Petett said. “And that’s been a success for us in some games this year.
“However, I am not sure if we can grind it out on offense against Tilghman. They’re going to load the box against us some, and I don’t know where we’re going to be able to find our lanes at. We’re going to have to find a formation that is good for us, where we might be able to find some mismatches formation-wise. They’re just so good. I don’t see many holes in their armor right now.”
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