Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
MT. PLEASANT — To say the Mt. Pleasant football team has its hands full on Friday night at Mapleleaf Athletic Complex is an understatement. The Panthers face one of the best teams in Class 4A in what will be their hardest test yet.
Mt. Pleasant takes an overall record into its district clash against Iowa City Liberty. After sticking close in the first half, the Panthers fell 46-0 at Fort Madison last week. Meanwhile, the now seventh-ranked Lightning toppled North Scott 20-16, laying claim to the title of district favorites while knocking the Lancers out of The Gazette’s Class 4A prep football poll in the process.
Before last week’s game at Fort Madison, Mt. Pleasant’s offense had scored at least 20 points in every game. Quarterback Jacob Richtman came in as the state’s leader in pass completions, but the Bloodhound defense rattled the Panthers all night long.
Richtman has thrown for nine touchdowns this season, four of those going to star wideout Wyatt Woodsmall. Zerek Venghaus has two rushing touchdowns to lead Mt. Pleasant.
The Panthers will face a Liberty defense that has been stout, especially in the last two weeks. The Lighting gave up just seven points against Clear Creek-Amana and 16 against North Scott, two quality opponents.
Liberty’s offense isn’t one to scoff at either. Quarterback Graham Beckman has slung the ball all over the field for 1,174 yards and 12 touchdowns, while throwing just one interception. He has also ran for three touchdowns.
Senior’s Garrett and Trey Gregoire will be ones to look out for on the ground and through the air. Garrett leads the team in receiving, catching 19 passes for 412 yards and five touchdowns. Trey has run for 310 yards and three touchdowns.
A little good news for Mt. Pleasant is that the Lightning have forced just six turnovers in five games on the defensive side of the ball. The bad news is those stats have been against some of the state’s best.
All five of Liberty’s past opponents sit at 3-2. The Lightning haven’t played anyone outside of the Top-13 in either Class 4A or Class 5A, according to the BCMoore computer rankings.
Friday night will mark the start of a two-game home stretch for the Panthers. Mt. Pleasant will host Burlington in the Homecoming game next week.