“There’s no question we didn’t like the way we left Lisbon last year. We felt like we outplayed them and lost the game,” Donovan said. “I sensed it among the kids and among the coaching staff. It’s something we talked about. We all felt the same inside. We wanted to get that taste out of our mouths and move on.”
The Panthers set an early tone on the road on Monday as Chase Copeland’s 56-yard run on the second play from scrimmage, opening up the first of two first-quarter touchdown drives for Pekin. It’s that kind of start that the Panthers would love to have tonight in Brooklyn, but one that Donovan is not surprised to see from his team at this point of the year.
“I think we thought we could do this. I think, as a coaching staff, we could run on Lisbon and attack on offense right from the start,” Donovan said. “The one thing I reminded the kids about after that early score was there was no need to celebrate. We completely expect to strike right away like that.”
For Albia, Friday’s game will be a chance to ride the momentum of a historically-great season for the program to the program’s first trip to Cedar Falls. The Blue Demons enter tonight’s showdown with the Bulldogs having proven they can beat any number of teams in any number of ways.
So far in the postseason, physical defense has been a calling card for both the Panthers and Blue Demons. Facing 1,000-yard running back Essa Baylor of Mid-Prairie on Monday, Albia held the Golden Hawk back to five total yards on the ground on just nine carries as Mid-Prairie lost a yard on 12 carries as a team.