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Cats Lose Home Opener

WALSENBURG-  The John Mall Panthers made adjustments to their offense from the previous week but their efforts fell short when the final horn sounded as they dropped their second game of the season to the Center Vikings 34-24.   The Panthers first play of the game saw freshman Steve Riuz carry the ball for 26 yards, giving the Cats hope  for a quick offensive series, but the Cats had trouble moving the ball and went three and out, forcing them to punt to the Vikings.  Center s ensuing drive was meticulously executed as they drove the ball 76 yards for the games opening score when senior Eric Martinez took the option pitch from A.J. Garcia seven yards for the score.  The Viking offense converted two three first downs in their drive for the goal line as the Panther defense had trouble controlling Garcia and the option .

    The Vikings found the promised land again at 7:26 in the second quarter when Luis Vasquez scored on a five yard sweep.  The two point conversion was made and the Vikings lead 14-0. The Panthers finally found pay dirt late in the second quarter after a solid drive when quarterback Jacob Wigging kept the ball on a five yard run for the score, giving the Panthers a 14-6 halftime deficit.

    It was the Cats who opened the third quarter scoring when Clayton Archuletta scampered 55 yards down the sideline for the score.  The conversion attempt failed and the Panthers saw themselves trailing 14-12.  It was beginning to look like the Cats were in the game, but some key missed defensive plays and two straight unanswered touchdowns put the Vikings ahead for good 28-12.  The Panthers would not give up though as Charlie Whitehead s powerful arm was called into service, connecting with Dominik Pino for a twenty five yard TD pass.  There was hope for the Cats who were trailing 28-18, but a quick Viking touchdown midway in the 4th seemed to put the game out of reach.  The Panthers would not give up scoring one last time to close out the scoring.

    The Panthers travel to Monument tomorrow to face the Palmer Ridge Bears.  The Bears compete in Class 4A  ball which should prove to be a true test for the Panthers.      

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