(Mound City) -- The defending Missouri 8-Man champion Mound City will face undefeated East Atchison tonight on KMA-FM 99.1. One year removed from posting an undefeated state season, Mound City Coach Taylor Standeford has piloted the Panthers to a 9-2 record an on the brink of a return trip to the state semifinals.
"We've played some pretty tough teams this year, but overall I've been pretty proud of our guys, we've done a lot of good things this year and we're hoping to continue that on Friday."
The Panthers' two blemishes this season have been quality losses. A 58-34 defeat to one-loss Southwest Livingston and a 58-50 loss to undefeated East Atchison. Coach Standeford feels that his team has shown a lot in the two losses.
"They've done a great job of coming back from those losses and getting better," Standeford said.
Mound City has been led this season by quarterback Landon Poppa, who has completed just 16 passes, but for 12 touchdowns. Poppa has also rushed for 16 scores. Senior running backs Dylan George and TJ Hopkins have ran for 15 and 12 touchdowns respectively. The Panthers have averaged just over 50 points a contest this season.
"I believe that everything starts up front," Standeford said, "Our guys on the offensive line have done a great job this season getting their blocks, but in the backfield, we've got three tremendous athletes that are scary once any one of them gets the ball in their hands."
Standeford also added that the diversity in styles between George, Hopkins and Poppa has benefited his team this season.
"All three of them bring a little bit different aspect to the game, so it's tough for teams to prepare for all three of those." Standeford said.
Up next for Mound City is a rematch with East Atchison, who defeated the Panthers in a 58-50 thriller on October 4th.
"One thing we have to cleanup is the penalties we had, the first time we played them we had a ton of penalties. That stuff can't happen," Standeford said. "We're pretty even with each other, last time they were the better team, but we just got to come out, do our thing and try to control what they do offensively."
Friday night's 8-man district championship battle between Mound City and East Atchison can be heard on KMA-FM 99.1 with Trevor Maeder and Tom Moore. Pregame will begin at 6:40, kickoff at 7 p.m. The complete interview with Coach Standeford can be heard below.