The Blanco Panthers pulled off a big emotional win over the Luling Eagles to secure the final play-off spot in the district this past Friday. Blanco will now travel to La Vernia this coming Saturday to take on Edna for the Bi-District Championship.
Blanco opened the game recovering an Eagle fumble on the opening kick-off. The Panthers drove 28 yards in 7 plays to score on a Weston Copenhaver 6 yard run. Raby converted the PAT to make the score 7 to 0 with less than 3 minutes gone in the game. The Panthers then forced a three and out on the potent Luling offense. After a short 14 yard punt, Blanco covered 38 yards in just 5 plays with Tim Goodman getting the TD from a yard out. Although Raby missed just his second extra point all year, Blanco led 13 to 0 after the first quarter of play.
The second quarter finally saw some life from the Eagles as they took advantage of a Panther turnover and drove 39 yards to score on a 1 yard run. Following the PAT, Luling had cut the score to 13 to 7. However, on the ensuing drive, Blanco moved the ball 63 yards with Tanner Rogers sprinting the final 39 yards on the drive’s sixth play. Although Blanco’s rushing attempt for two came up short, the lead was increased to 19 to 7. Following a 60 yard kick-off return by Luling and an altercation on the Eagle sideline resulting in flags and ejections, Sam Isenberg got the ball back for Blanco on the next play as he intercepted the Eagles’ pass at the goal line and returned it to mid field, where another incident occured at the end of the play resulting in a Luling player being ejected. After walking off a 15 yard penalty, the Panthers covered the remaining 47 yards in 3 plays and 27 seconds to score on a 20 yard pass play from Rogers to Colton Childress. Rogers then connected with Matt Pepper for the 2-point conversion to make the halftime score 27 to 7.
With the end of the first half still on their minds, the Panthers opened the third quarter in much of the same fashion as they ended the first half, scoring three times. Rogers crossed the goal line on runs of 26 yards and 1 yard, while Childress added his second score of the night on a 30 yard sprint through the Luling defense. Raby converted all 3 PATs to close out the scoring at 48 to 7 with an uneventful fourth quarter.
Offensively, Blanco rushed for a season high 420 yards on 47 carries while racking up 22 first downs. Goodman and Rogers led all rushers with 137 and 126 yards respectively. Childress and Isenberg also pitched in with 73 and 68 yards on the ground.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Panthers held Luling to just 10 first downs and 218 yards in total offense, while forcing 3 turnovers, an Isenberg interception and fumble recoveries by Britton Wagner and Quade Mayfield.
Blanco will now begin preparations for their Bi-District bout with the Edna Cowboys. Edna enters the game with a 7 and 3 record after finishing 2nd in district play behind Hempstead. Kick-off for Saturday’s game in La Vernia is set for 6:00pm.