Unbeaten Redmond Panthers hit the home stretch

At 6-0, three big games are ahead in IMC fight

POSTED: 12:05 AM PDT October 12, 2012    UPDATED: 8:30 AM PDT October 12, 2012 
REDMOND, Ore. -

The Redmond football team couldn't have asked for a better start to this football season, as they currently sit at 6-0 and ranked second in Oregon Class 5A with only three games to go in the regular season.

In the past two seasons, the Redmond Panthers only won six games combined while they were in Class 6A.

A move down to 5A has been to the Panthers' liking, as they've won six games already this season, thanks in part to a senior-laden class.

"So far this year, we've done a pretty good job of executing the game plan, and we're real happy with the effort that we've gotten out of the kids and all the hard work they've put in," Head Coach Nathan Stanley said.

This Redmond team preaches smart statistics: If they score more than 25 points per game and allow less than 15, they like their chances to win.

They've been averaging more than 40 points a game and allowing just over 10.

"We're so physical up front and our linebacking crew is so stout, no one can really run the ball against us," lineman Casey Gates said. "So every team is pretty much forced to throw, and our secondary is solid too. And that's why we allow such little points per game."

"Play action works really good," said quarterback Andrew Leeland, "because defenses shift a lot to the Rocket, so we can play-action all over them. The wide receivers are wide open every time.."

The next three games for Redmond will be crucial, as they face off with IMC rivals Bend and Mountain View before ending the season with Roosevelt.

All three teams would be in the playoffs if the season ended now, and the Panthers are approaching those three games as the beginning of their playoff run.

"Not only is that the IMC title, but it's pretty much the king of central Oregon.," Gates said. "Those are all big rivalry games. Everybody wants to come out on top against them."

"We really want that IMC title, and Redmond hasn't won that in awhile," Leeland said. "So these next three games are pretty much the playoffs for us -- we're treating them like playoffs."

Gates added, "It's the bragging rights, and it's just having the title. Who doesn't want to be on the top?"