The Blanco Panthers picked a great time to play one of their best games of the year this past Friday in La Vernia when they defeated the Edna Cowboys 21 to 20 and advanced to the area round of the state play-offs. The Panthers used an opportunistic defense and a time-consuming offense to win the Bi-District Championship and improve to 6 and 5 on the year.
It didn’t take long for the Panthers to see the Cowboys’ highly recruited running back Devon Parks as he put Edna on the board on the game’s second play with a 67-yard sprint down the Cowboys’ sideline. A successful PAT then gave Edna an early 7 to 0 lead. However, with time running out in the opening quarter, Blanco had a drive of 63 yards in 4 plays to see Tim Goodman rumble 35 yards for the Panthers’ first score of the night. Although Blanco missed the extra point attempt, the score was cut to 7 to 6 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter opened with Parks scoring on an 8-yard run to complete a 10-play 62-yard drive for Edna. Another successful PAT pushed the Cowboys’ lead up to 14 to 6. However, on their ensuing possession, Blanco mounted the game’s longest scoring drive of the night, covering 72 yards in 5 plays with Sr. QB Tanner Rogers tossing a 40 yard TD to Tyler Brown. The Panthers then tied the game as Rogers passed to Weston Copenhaver for the two-point conversion, knotting the score at 14 apiece going into halftime.
The third quarter saw the Cowboys take advantage of the Panthers’ only turnover of the night as they converted a Blanco fumble into another Parks 15-yard run after covering 35 yards in just 4 plays. However, Edna missed the extra point, leaving the score at 20 to 14. Following the kick-off, the Panthers put together another impressive drive, going 70 yards in 10 plays, while eating up over 6 minutes. Tanner Rogers completed the drive with a strong 10-yard run to score the TD. Sr. Kicker TJ Raby then gave the Panthers’ their first lead of the game as he converted the extra point to make the score 21 to 20 at the end of the third quarter.
Although neither team scored in the final quarter, there was still plenty of excitement throughout. Following the Panthers taking the lead, Edna took over and completed what would appear to be a 60-yard touchdown pass on their second play of the drive. However, an unsportsmanlike penalty for taunting negated the TD and put the ball on the Blanco 18 yard line. From here, the Cowboys fumbled two plays later, with LB Byrun Mabry recovering the ball for the Panthers. Edna mounted one final threat late in the game as they had a first and goal at the Blanco 6 yard line only to be pushed back 7 yards before pressuring the Edna QB into trying to throw away a pass only to be intercepted by a diving Tyler Brown to seal the victory for Blanco.
Offensively, Blanco picked up 18 first downs and 270 yards on the night, with Goodman and Rogers rushing for 77 and 74 yards respectively. Rogers also added 58 yards through the air with completions to Brown, Colton Childress and Weston Copenhaver.
Defensively, the Panthers were bent but not broke, holding Edna to 15 first downs and less than 350 yards while forcing three crucial turnovers and three sacks. Fumble recoveries went to Quade Mayfield and Byrun Mabry, while Tyler Brown got the interception. Sacks went to Britton Wagner, Ed Alvarado and Turaj Bedford.
Blanco will now begin preparations for their area championship bout with the Jourdanton Indians. Jourdanton enters the game as district champions with a 9 and 1 record. Their only defeat came at the hands of Randolph. Kick-off is set for 7:30pm Friday night in Floresville.