OWESPTS-10-15-21 FF BIG GAME FEATURE

Daviess County’s Joe Humphreys scrambles away from Marshall County’s Braden Clough during action on Sept. 24 at Reid Stadium.

Daviess County High School plays its biggest regular-season football game of the year Friday night against a Henderson County team desperate to get back in the race for the KHSAA Class 6-A Region 1, District 1 championship.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Reid Stadium, where a full house is expected.

“We just want to go out and play our game,” Panthers head coach Matt Brannon said. “We’ve been able to defend a wide variety of offenses this year. We’re playing real well up front, our linebackers have played well, and our secondary has been excellent the whole season.

“Offensively, we’ve got to be who we are — we need to be versatile and unpredictable — and we need to play mistake-free football.

“Henderson County is a good team, but they’re not the type of team that plays well trying to come from behind — we want to jump on them early and make them play from behind.”

Daviess County (6-1, 2-0 in district), idle last week, last played on Oct. 1 when it posted a convincing 51-20 district conquest at struggling McCracken County. In that game, Kentucky Mr. Football candidate Joe Humphreys completed 24-of-30 passes for 332 yards and four touchdowns, also scoring three rushing TDs.

“Joe has been tremendous,” Brannon said of his senior quarterback. “He’s having an unbelievable season.”

In 2021, Humphreys has passed for 2,239 yards and 26 touchdowns. His top two receivers, Max Dees and Decker Renfrow, have combined to make 86 receptions for 1,292 yards and 13 TDs.

The Panthers have also gotten a huge lift from running back Gunnar Evans, who has rushed for 588 yards and four touchdowns. Evans also leads the team, defensively, with 74 total tackles.

“The kids have played to their potential, and that’s what it comes down to — making plays on the field,” Brannon said. “We’ve played good, complementary football this season. That’s what we were working to achieve in the preseason, and that’s what we’re going to need coming down the stretch if we want to continue to have success.”

Henderson County (5-2, 1-1) is coming off last week’s humbling 21-10 home district loss to streaking Apollo, a game in which star running back Jaheim Williams did not play. The junior, who averages 7.4 yards per carry, is expected to be back in action against DC.

“He’s their most dominant player, and him being back is what concerns me most,” Brannon said of Williams. “With him in the lineup, they want to spread you from sideline to sideline, then hit you up the middle. We have to be aware of where (Williams) is on the field at all times.

“Their game plan will be to put together long, sustained drives and try to keep our offense off the field.

“Defensively, they like to play a lot of (man-to-man) coverage — whether they’re willing to do that against us remains to be seen.”

The Colonels also feature quarterback Seth Goben, who has passed for 525 yards and six touchdowns, and running back Jordan Wright (488 yards, 5 TDs).

“We’ll be ready to go,” Brannon said, “and I’m sure they will be, too.”

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