The Pikeville Panther defense has been peaking at the right time and wrecking opponents as they seek to win a state title.
The Panthers have only allowed 35 points over the last 5 games and dispatched of Williamsburg, 42-0, in the first round of the playoffs and have been playing lights out under defensive coordinator Paul Sullivan. In Pikeville’s first playoff game, the defense held Harlan to only 108 yards. In last week’s game, Williamsburg only mustered 60 yards. In both games, most defensive starters were out of the game by the half.
Safety Sam Wright has been a leader on Pikeville’s defense. So far this season, Wright has 50 tackles, including 1 for a loss and an interception. While Wright is unquestionably a defensive leader, he’s had a talented unit around him as well.
Jeremiah Anderson has 94 tackles, including 8 for a loss and 1 sack. Deonte Stevens has 78 tackles. Brenden Anthony has 76 tackles. Jeb Wilkerson has 70 tackles. Jayden Justice has 59 tackles, including 10 for a loss. Isaiah Stanley has 54 tackles, including a Pick-6 on the season. Blake Caudill has 49 tackles and 4 sacks. Drew Ferguson and Jackson Wilkerson have also had success getting to the quarterback with 3 sacks each. As a team, the Panthers have 67 tackles for loss and 15 sacks. They have also recorded 8 fumbles on the season.
Up next is an explosive Middlesboro squad. However, the Panther defense has been stopping powerful offenses all season.
One thing is for certain. Defense wins championships, and with Wright and the rest of the Panther defensive unit, don’t be surprised if they are bringing the trophy back to Pikeville at season’s end.