High School Sports

Football notebook: Catamounts work as a unit

Panther Creek's Ryan Callahan (33) and Juwan Byrd (4) stop a run by Fuquay-Varina's Eric Sugarman (22). The Fuquay-Varina Bengals football team played the Panther Creek Catamounts in Cary on Friday, October 17, 2014.
Panther Creek's Ryan Callahan (33) and Juwan Byrd (4) stop a run by Fuquay-Varina's Eric Sugarman (22). The Fuquay-Varina Bengals football team played the Panther Creek Catamounts in Cary on Friday, October 17, 2014. newsobserver.com

Panther Creek leads the Southwest Wake Athletic 4A because its defense has been outstanding.

The Catamounts shut out Fuquay-Varina 9-0 last week and held Middle Creek without a touchdown two weeks ago in a 13-3 win. The Catamounts’ defense has not allowed a touchdown in the past three games and only two touchdowns in the past six games.

Panther Creek is allowing 7.9 points per game.

“The key to the defense has been guys honoring their assignments, being unselfish and getting to the ball,” said coach Sean Crocker. “They work well together as a unit and understand that the success of the defense is not dependent on one person, but on the group as a whole. They take pride in that.”

Crocker said it is hard to single out players on the unit, but he said Isaiah Laster and Ryan Callahan have stood out.

“Isaiah has been flying around and has scored defensive TDs in crucial moments this year,” Crocker said. “Ryan has been a man possessed. He’s making plays all over the field and really being a presence out there.”

Middle Creek battles injuries: Middle Creek was undefeated and seemingly improving each week until Panther Creek stopped the Mustangs 13-3 two weeks ago in a Southwest Wake Athletic 4A game.

Holly Springs followed with a 42-35 triple-overtime victory over Middle Creek last week, dropping the Mustangs to 6-2 overall and 2-2 in the league.

The losses have dropped the Mustangs into a four-way tie for third place in the conference with Apex, Holly Springs and Athens Drive.

Green Hope (6-2, 3-1) is in second place in the conference and will play Panther Creek on Nov. 7, the final regular-season date.

Middle Creek coach Mike Castellano said the key for his club is to keep improving and to get some of more than a half dozen potential starters back from injuries. Among the missing is leading rusher Elijah Perry and all-star tackle Terry Patterson.

“We are looking to continue to improve in all aspects of the game and look forward to getting a lot of the guys back from injury in the next two weeks,” said Castellano.

Middle Creek will play Friday at Athens Drive, at home against Cary on Oct. 31 and at Fuquay-Varina on Nov. 7.

East Wake defense: East Wake coach John Poulnott praised the defensive work of his club and of West Johnston in last week’s 28-14 Greater Neuse 4A victory. Neither team scored in the second half.

“Hats off to both defenses in the second half,” Poulnott said. “They made both offenses earn every yard.”

Garner (7-1, 4-0) leads the Greater Neuse River 4A and East Wake (6-2, 3-1) and Southeast Raleigh (4-4, 3-1) share second.

East Wake has games remaining against Clayton, Harnett Central and Knightdale. Southeast Raleigh will play West Johnston, Garner and Clayton. Garner will play Knightdale, Southeast Raleigh and Rolesville.

Wake Forest gets ready: Wake Forest coach Reggie Lucas said his undefeated team has done a good job preparing each week.

“I’m really proud of the entire team for preparing each week and executing the game plan,” he said. “The players that don’t get recognized are the second- and third-team players that are really making a difference during the week to help the starters get ready, I wish I could name them all but they know who they are.”

Ravenscroft improving: Ravenscroft coach Ned Gonet said his team has played well during the past three weeks.

“I have been really pleased as we continue to grow and improve,” he said. “We have put together a stretch of well played games by executing at a high level in all three phases of the game, minimizing our mistakes and playing with a good rhythm and tempo. We have blended our youth with our nucleus of experienced players to develop a good sound chemistry which is paying off late in the season.”

Ravenscroft will play Friday at Charlotte Christian in a game that is a key to the Ravens’ playoff hopes. They will finish the regular season Oct. 31 against Harrells Christian.