The 8th grade Panthers traveled to Luling this past week to take on the Eagles, the only district team that beat them (8-0) last year [as 7th graders]. Over the past week, revenge has been the main topic for many; that and the probability of the Blanco 8th grade Panther football team having back to back undefeated seasons. As anticipated, the Panthers dominantly prevailed in possibly the most sought after game of the season. What looked to be a tough battle during the first half with the Panthers leading 8-0, dramatically changed during the second half when the Panthers went on to win 28-6.
Luling received the opening kickoff and started at their 47, but Blanco’s defense held them to a 3 and out and forced the Eagles to punt. Adrian Dominguez received the punt at the Panthers’ 21 and returned it 79 yards for Blanco’s first touchdown. The extra point was good thanks to the second efforts of running back Chase Horton stretching the ball across the goal; Blanco out front 8-0. This quick score may have created a little delusional foresight by many Blanco fans (me included) of what to expect; however, this turned out to be the only score by either team in the first half. Each team had their share of misfortunes, mishaps, and penalties during the remainder of the first half that kept either from scoring. The Eagles had one drive that put them inside Blanco’s 20 yard line but were unable to capitalize. It may have been believed that the Eagles hurt themselves because of their inability to execute; however, because of plays like defensive end James Rodriguez knocking down passes those trench dwelling Panthers are to be credited for those missed executions.
The Panthers received the second half kick off and began their drive at their 36. Key plays for this drive began with running back Adrian Dominguez up the middle for 14 yards, then a reverse by Eddie Torres for 15, Dominguez off tackle to the right side for 15 more, Torres around the left side for 11 more, and Horton for 5. This drive put the Panthers at the Eagles 10 yard line, but a few mishaps and untimely penalties forced them to turn the ball over on downs. The Blanco defense stepped up again and forced another Eagle punt. The Panthers’ offense took over at the Eagles 30 thanks to a fantastic punt return by Eddie Torres. A pitchout to Adrian Dominguez brought the ball down to the Eagle 8 yard line, then it was Dominguez again for the Blanco’s second touchdown. A quick pass to running back Aaron Uballe was good for the extra point; Blanco leads 16-0. The Eagles started up again at their 47; however, excellent defensive pursuit from Eddie Torres plus a fumble recovery had the Blanco offense back on the field inside the Eagles’ 25. This time the additional yardage was racked up by Aaron Uballe and Ryan Ronces; however, just after getting inside the Eagle 10, the Panthers coughed up the ball where the Eagles picked it up and ran it back for their only score; Blanco leads 16-6. Blanco answered quickly to the Eagle score when, on the ensuing kickoff, Chase Horton returned it to the Eagles 13 yard line and a couple of plays later it was Dominguez up the middle for Blanco’s 3rd touchdown, but the extra point attempt was unsuccessful; Blanco leads 22-6. It wasn’t long before Blanco’s offense was back on the field due to an interception by defensive secondary Justin Williams. With about 25 seconds left on the clock, QB Trent Dechert called his own number and scampered up the middle for 40 yards and Blanco’s final touchdown; extra point no good. Blanco wins 28-6.
History has now been written and, although it may not have been a perfect season, for the undefeated [6-0-1] 8th grade Panther football team, it will be a season that many of these players will remember always as one of their greatest …until next year.
Many of the boys have been playing football together as many as 4 or 5 years, and some of you may remember three years ago when many of these players as 5th graders were teamed up with the then 6th graders in Mid-Tex Youth Football. During that year, these boys, coached by Paul Elrod, went up against other teams such as Marble Falls, Dripping Springs, Spring Branch, and a host of other schools that fed into bigger 3-A and 4-A schools; but did you also know that these boys went undefeated during that regular season? How promising the future of Blanco Panther football looks …especially after these two grade levels are able to combine forces once again.
Offense Stats: Dominguez – 10 carries for 106 yards, 3 touchdowns; Torres – 3 carries for 32 yards, 1 reception for 29 yards; Horton – 1 carry for 5 yards, 1 reception for 2 yards; Jordan Wagner – 2 carries for 12 yards; Dechert – 1 carry for 40 yards, 1 touchdown; Aaron Uballe 3 carries for 14 yards; Ryan Ronces 4 carries for 18 yards.
To see pictures of the 7th and 8th grade football games, go to https://sites.google.com/site/blancosports/