by David Tesitor
WALSENBURG- The John Mall Panthers were off last weekend and used the time to rest from their victory against Ellicott the week before.
Dylan Tenorio, who left the Ellicott game with an ankle injury, should start in tomorrow’s game. The game against the Thunderhawks displayed the offensive dominance of the Panthers, a performance consistent with their previous games. The following stats were unavailable by last week’s press deadline, Tenorio had a rushing and receiving touchdown before he left the game. For the year, Tenorio has six rushing touchdowns and one receiving. He is the team’s leading rusher with 258 yards, averaging 6.1 yards per carry.
John Paul Vigil filled in well, taking up the slack when Tenorio left the game with two TD’s of his own; one a 46-yard run and the other a 26-yard run. Clayton Berger also connected with Jacob Wiggins for a 3-yard pass and threw another 40-yard pass to Brandon Vigil. Wiggins also scored on a 46-yard run.
There is no denying the fact that this is one of the most explosive Panther teams in recent years, possessing the ability to score from any position, both on offense and on defense. For the season, the Cats have outscored their opponents 139-84. Tomorrow night’s opponent, the Custer County Bobcats, average 23 points per game and have allowed 18. For the Panthers to be effective against this first league opponent, they need to control the ball on the ground. The Panthers run for 217 yards per game and need to step it up a notch as the Bobcats have allowed an average of 160 yards. John Mall also has to convert their first downs early, as the Panthers’ third-down efficiency is at 38%.
On the ground, the Panthers’ rushers average 5.9 yards per carry. Receiving, Berger has many targets to choose from, his favorite being Brandon Vigil who averages 17.9 yards per catch, followed by Wiggins with 12.4.
Defensively, Jacob Pino has 27 tackles, 12 solo, while teammate JP Vigil has 22.
The only issue the Panthers have been working on the past few weeks has been the number of drive-stalling penalties. As John Mall enters league play, the team needs to be consistent and not give up the big plays, as they have in each of the past four games. Several scores for opposing teams came on the long bombs or missed tackles. The Panthers have the best offense in the Santa Fe League, putting up more points than any other team. For continued success, the Cats need to remain focused and continue to make the necessary plays to secure the wins.