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Caleb Turrentine / The Tribune Elmore County’s Sean Darnell (7) tries to run past a Tallassee tackler.

After having to shut down all football activities two weeks ago due to COVID-19, Elmore County is finally set to get back to competition as it continues its search to end the team’s six-game losing streak. The Panthers will dive right back into region play this week as they are set to host Beauregard.

Elmore County (1-6, 0-4 Class 5A Region 4) are still not officially eliminated from the playoff race but the team does not control its own destiny. However, that’s not going to be the focus during practice this week.

“It’s been a wild couple of weeks,” ECHS coach Jordan Cantrell said. “With all of the negativity of the year and having to cancel the game, we’re using this as a restart for our team for these next three games. We have always focused on one game at a time and we’re really going to do that moving forward.”

The Panthers got some of their players back on the practice field last week during the team’s scheduled bye week but they did not get a majority of the players back until Monday. Cantrell said he hopes to have everyone back by Friday’s game.

Beauregard (3-5, 1-4) comes to town riding a two-game losing streak of its own which has involved two losses by an average margin of defeat of 34.5 points. The Hornets still bring some issues to the table for the Panthers to deal with and they have shown glimpses of success including a win over a Holtville team which defeated Elmore County earlier this season.

“They have always been known to have a good football team,” Cantrell said. “They have lost some games but they have been right there in a lot of those games. They are very skilled and athletic on both sides of the ball and that brings a challenge.”

The Hornets have thrived off the big play this season, recording at least one 50-yard play in six of their eight games. Quarterback Gavin Prickett is called on to throw the deep ball often and he has connected with receivers Kevin Maloy and Tyler Gordon.

“They have a lot of guys with the capability that can go the distance,” Cantrell said. “They live by the big play so we want to keep everyone in front of us.”

Elmore County’s offense will counter with a group of players who hope to get their timing back after the long break. Cantrell also alluded to the fact the Panthers may be forced to make some personnel changes to its starting lineup based on who is available and how players are conditioned after missing time.

“There is going to be some timing issues with everyone coming back but we’re going to practice a lot this week,” Cantrell said. “That will play a factor into this week. You really have to look at who is out and look at their conditioning. We have to evaluate that and make changes depending on that.”

PREDICTION: Elmore County 23, Beauregard 20

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.