by David Tesitor
CENTER- The John Mall Panthers took it to the Vikings in impressive style, ending a winless streak which dated back to the 2007 season and defeating their opponent in sound and convincing fashion, 35-12. The only real offensive threat Center was able to muster came on the opening drive as they took the ball downfield. They were in the red zone when a 15-yard penalty forced a third and long. Two plays later the Panthers took over on downs, saving the touchdown and going on the offensive attack. According to Coach Berger, “The team woke up and began to play. They stuck to the game plan and played as a team.”
The Panther victory was a combination of short gains and several longer plays. Dylan Tenorio had a 71-yard touchdown run, the longest run from scrimmage by a Panther this season. Defensively, the Cats also played exceptional ball. Berger said. “Austin Jackson really turned his game around. He played really well on defense too.” In addition, Clayton Archuleta came up with two interceptions on defense and the team picked up a fumble, stopping the Vikings in their tracks.
The Panthers were leading 14-0 as the third quarter began when Archuleta took the opening kickoff 80 yards for a Panther score. Charlie Whitehead’s conversion gave John Mall a comfortable 21-0 lead. The Panthers’ lead was never in jeopardy as they continued to dominate the Vikings throughout the second half. Archuleta was the game’s leading rusher with just under 100 yards.
One of the Viking scoring drives came from the Panthers’ defensive errors. The Panthers gave up three 15-yard penalties allowing Center to keep their drive alive. The Vikings’ other score came from a Panther fumble deep in their own territory, giving Center a short field to work with.
The team pressure of ending their losing streak is over and Berger went on to say, “We will continue to coach our system and take steps forward. The Panthers can relax and now do their job.”
Palmer Ridge will be in town to face the Panthers this Saturday. Action begins at 1 pm. Palmer Ridge, in their second year as a high school, defeated the Panthers last season in Monument. The Bears will be facing a tougher, more experienced Panther team which is looking to settle a score. Palmer Ridge is 1-1. Look for the Cats to earn their first homefield victory by giving the fans a running and aerial show.