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Panther offense explodes

by David Tesitor
WALSENBURG- If last Friday’s game under the lights was any indication of how good this John Mall team is, they should keep the lights burning all season long.
The Cats lit up the scoreboard enroute to a thrashing of the Center Vikings, 52-18. The victory gave the Panthers a 2-1 record. The offense ruled the night as the Panthers put up 268 rushing yards and 114 yards in the air. The workhorse of the night went to Mr. Reliable, Dylan Tenorio, who rushed for 112 yards on 13 carries including a 34-yard touchdown romp on the Cats’ first possession of the night.
As the game began, it looked like it would be a long night for John Mall. The Panthers had two fumbles in their first two plays, but on third and nine, a Clayton Berger to Jordon Bobian pass completion gave the Panthers a first and ten on their own 44-yard line. Berger then went to Jacob Wiggins for a 10-yard screen pass setting up Tenorio’s 34-yard TD run.
The Panthers controlled the ball throughout the night, executing a mix of passing and running plays. Zac Harriman was the leading receiver with one reception for 46 yards at the end of the half. He also returned two punts for 50 yards.
Overall, the Panther offense went four of eight in third down efficiency and zero for two in fourth. Their only punt of the night went off the side of the kicker’s foot and bounced in favor of the Vikings. The punt resulted in a negative five yards punt, giving Center excellent field position.
At this point, a strong Panther defensive stand held the Vikings to a third and fifteen. The Panther defense forced Viking quarterback Ryan Perrin to scramble which forced a bad pass that resulted in a 73- yard interception for a touchdown by Wiggins. Wiggins got a few good blocks allowing him to go untouched into the end zone.
This was the first of three picks by the Panther defense. The Panthers also recovered three fumbles. John Mall also held their opponents to 80 yards rushing, the best defensive hold since Berger took over as coach three years ago.
On Center’s first possession, the Panther defensive stand kept the Vikings buried deep in their own territory forcing them to kick where the Panthers began on the Viking 36. Berger ran the option for twelve yards, setting up Tenorio for his second touchdown, a 24 yard run around the end.
Center’s scores came off broken coverage in the secondary as the defensive backs gave up two long plays, a 28 yard strike in the first and a 53 yard completion to Osvaldo Munoz to the five that set up the Vikings’ second score.
Defensively, Jacob Pino led the Panthers with eight tackles; four solo and eight assisted. He also pulled in an interception.
After the game, Coach Berger said, “We played a very good game. We really worked hard this week on the things we did not do well against Sargent. We played better on both sides of the ball and I am happy with how much better our defense was.” Berger acknowledged they had a couple breakdowns against the pass and will work on the deep coverage before Ellicott comes to town Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7 pm.