Week 7 notebook on the Palmyra football team (6-1)

Through the first six weeks of the season, Peyton Plunkett and Jacob Kroeger carried the bulk of the Palmyra offense in the backfield.

Plunkett provided the thunder up the middle, while Kroeger added the lightning by calling his own number from under center.

Kroeger is still calling the shots for the Panthers offense, but Friday night he deferred to speedster Jarom Alexander. What initially was designed to give the defense a different look for a couple plays turned into a career night for the new star of the Panthers offense.

Palmyra (6-1) surged to a 35-0 win over state-ranked Centralia.

“It’s not anything we have spent a lot of time working on but that is going to change after tonight,” Palmyra coach Kevin Miles said of the new package for Alexander. “It’s still a work in progress.”

The Panthers offense averaged 1.8 yards per play before Alexander entered the backfield and 8.8 ypp after. 

CONFERENCE BEST?

Two weeks ago after an impressive 20-6 win at Clark County, Dalton Perkins proclaimed the Panthers defense to be the best in the conference.

After Friday night’s 35-0 win over Centralia, the Panthers have backed up Perkins’ words.

At least on paper.

Through six Clarence Cannon Conference games, the Palmyra defense has allowed just 60 points. Centralia is second with 82 points, while Monroe City is third with 84 points allowed.

The Panthers defense is led on the sidelines by Marty Smyser, who head coach Kevin Miles called a “stud.”

More impressive is all the injuries Smyser has to endure this season.

“We are a little thin at a few of the positions so all the credit goes to the kids for stepping up and being flexible and bouncing from one formation to the next,” he said. “Everyone is doing their 1/11th and they are really starting to gel together right now.”

NOT SEEING RED

Not only did the Panthers defense pitch a shutout Friday night, Centralia did not come close to the end zone. Centralia could not cross into the red zone against the Panthers stiff defense.

The furthest penetration Centralia’s offense made against the Palmyra defense was down to the 24-yard line.

After a 6-yard passing play, Centralia faced a fourth-and-6 from the Palmyra 25 with just over 11 minutes left in the game. Palmyra took over on downs the next play after a 1-yard gain.

Of the 44 offensive snaps for Centralia, only 15 came on the Palmyra side of the 50. Of those 15, eight plays came on the same drive which started inside Palmyra territory after a nice punt return.

THEY SAID IT

“Our defense is the best. It’s the best part of our game. We just have to keep doing what we have been doing and we can get to state.” -- Palmyra defensive back Jarom Alexander.