The Blanco Panther 8th graders played their first game of the year in traditional form when they hosted the San Antonio Christian Lions last Tuesday evening. The past few weeks of grueling, gut-wrenching practices in triple-digit temperatures finally paid off when, come game time, these talented young athletes proved themselves in front of their supportive and dedicated fans, coaches and parents. Last year at this time, the then 7th grade Panthers lost to SAC 18-20 ...for the now 8th grade Panthers, revenge is sweet.
The Lions deferred the opening kickoff and Chase Horton returned it to the Panther 34 yard line. The Panthers quickly jumped on the Lions when, on the first play from scrimmage, running rack Adrian Dominguez ran 66 yards to the end zone; however, an infraction brought the ball back to the Lions’ 36. Combined carries from running backs Chase Horton, Eddie Torres, Adrian Dominguez, and quarterback Jordan Wagner helped drive the ball inside the Lions 10 where, on first and goal, Dominguez ran it in for the opening touchdown, extra point missed. Panthers went out front 6-0. The Lions started their first drive from their own 25 yard line, but a tough defensive stand with key tackles from a bunch of blue jerseys forced the Lions to a three and out. Dominguez returned the Lions’ punt 38 yards back to the Lions’ 26 yard line. Having great field position, it didn’t take long for the Panthers to score again. It was 3rd and long, Wagner handed the ball to Torres on a misdirection, and Torres went 26 yards for Blanco’s second touchdown, extra point good. Panthers extended their lead to 14-0. On the ensuing kickoff, Eddie Torres boomed one almost to the end zone, as Ryan Ronces and Jarred Mayfield made a spectacular tackle, pinning the Lions at their own 17 yard line. The Lions were able to make a run of it moving the chains a couple of times…even threw a touchdown pass, but a Lions’ penalty called that one back, so the Lions ended up punting again. Blanco started at their 25 and brought out some fresh jerseys, this time with Trent Dechert at the helm and Ryan Ronces in the backfield. They drove down to the Lions’ 35 when Wagner and company took over again and ran a reverse with Eddie Torres taking it all the way for the Panther’s third touchdown, extra point missed. Panthers now led 20-0. The Lions started their next drive at their own 30, but the first half expired.
The Lions came out with a roar by returning the second half kickoff all the way for their first touchdown, extra point missed. Panthers led 20-6. The Panthers started their next drive from their 40 and drove as far as the Lions’ 35, but a turnover ended their drive and the Lions took over, but the Panthers’ D held and the Lions had to punt. The Panthers picked back up on their 20 yard line. The Panthers pounded their way down field until Wagner threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Dominguez, extra point good. Panthers went up 28-6. The Lions started their next drive on their 47 and, a few plays later, they ran around the right side 42 yards for their second touchdown, extra point good. Panthers lead was now 28-14. After the kickoff, the Panthers started up on their 35; however, a few plays later, the Panthers made a costly fumble. The Lions took advantage of the turnover and scored a few plays later, extra point missed. Panthers lead was now only 28-20. With about three minutes left in the game, the Lions attempted an onside kick but were unsuccessful. The Panthers took over and ran out the clock with the final score 28-20.
Offense Stats: Dominguez – ten carries for 76 yards, two receptions for 52 yards, two touchdowns; Torres – three carries for 55 yards, two touchdowns; Horton – two carries for ten yards, one reception for 12 yards; Ronces – seven carries for 20 yards; Wagner – four carries for 35 yards, passing 3 for 3, for 64 yards.