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Panthers to host rematch with Clark County in district football semifinals this Friday

by Mark Cheffey

The PHS varsity football team will have to get by one of their toughest rivals in order to advance to the district championship game.

Top-seeded Palmyra will host four-seeded Clark County at home Friday in the Class 2, District 6 semifinals, after the Indians won in a shootout over Highland, 52-50, in the quarterfinals Friday.

While the Indians come in at 4-4, they managed to take the Panthers to the brink before Landyn Smith kicked a 34-yard field goal in the waning moments for a 15-14 Palmyra win and preserve the team’s unbeaten record.

“We are excited to play Clark again,” said Panther coach Kevin Miles. “They are a great opponent, and it should be an outstanding game.”

This time, the game will be played on the home field and Clark County may still be feeling some of the effects of their two weeks off due to COVID-19.

Soon after the previous match-up Oct. 2, Clark County went into two-weeks of quarantine during which games against Brookfield and Monroe City were canceled.

And, the Indians got just limited practice before resuming play and losing to Macon, 45-28, in a pickup game Oct. 23.

With the week off, Coach Kevin Miles said extra time gave his team time to get better prepare for Clark County and heal up.

“We had a really good week of practice last week and hope to continue with that this week,” Miles said. “We worked on improving Palmyra last week, and now this week, we will work on trying to beat a very quality Clark County team.”

Meanwhile, a few of the Panthers, including running backs  Wes Begley and Hayes Miller, were recovering from leg injuries.  

“Our guys are getting better everyday, and we think we’ll be ready on Friday night,” Miles said.

There is still the spectre of COVID-19 which hangs over all teams from here on out.

“With all that is going on this time of year and even all that Clark County had going on, you just hope to continue to play and you get to go on, whenever that is, on your own terms,” Miles said.

If the Panthers win this Friday, they will host the district title game the following Friday at 7 p.m. against the winner of this Friday’s other semifinal between second-seeded Monroe City (7-2) and third-seeded Bowling Green (7-3), 53-12, victors over Clopton in the quarterfinals. 

The winner of District 6 will advance to the Class 2 quarterfinals and take on the winner of District 5 made up of top-seeded Hallsville, North Callaway (2), Montgomery County (3), Missouri Military Academy (4), Hermann (5) and Van-Far (6).