As is the case with most Blanco vs. Comfort events, this past Friday was well worth the price of admission as the Panthers and Bobcats put on a show for the ages with Blanco coming out on top in the end. In a game that saw both teams dominate with their style of offense, it would come down to a few key defensive plays to seal the victory for the Panthers.
The first quarter would begin fast and furious for the Panthers with Blanco scoring on their first possession via an 11 yard scoring pass from QB Jared Newby to TE Derek Tesch. Ross McCormick would add the PAT to give Blanco an early 7 to 0 lead. Comfort would answer quickly on the ensuing possession finding the end zone on a 24 yard pass play. Following a successful extra point kick, the score would be knotted at 7. Blanco would keep up the frantic pace, driving the ball down the field on its next possession to score on a 17 yard run by Layton Dworaczyk. However, the Panthers would fail to convert on the PAT as the quarter would end at 13 to 7 in favor of Blanco.
The second quarter would continue to see both teams move the ball. Comfort would strike first in the quarter scoring on a 6 yard run. After converting the PAT, Comfort would have its first lead of the night at 14 to 13. However, the Panthers would answer on their next drive ending with a 6 yard run of their own from Newby. Dworaczyk would add the two point conversion run and the Panthers would regain the lead at 21 to 14. After forcing the Bobcats to punt on their next possession for the first time in the half, the Panthers would put together another scoring drive ending with Anthony Vela bulling his way into the end zone from 2 yards out. Newby would take the ball in himself for the conversion and increase the Panther’s lead to 29 to 14. However, just before the half, Comfort would score on a 2 yard run, and following another successful conversion kick, the score at halftime would be 29 to 21 in favor of Blanco.
The second half would start off in Comfort’s favor as the Bobcats would control the line of scrimmage and force two key turnovers early in the half. The Bobcats would also score the first two touch downs of the half on 16 and 68 yard pass plays. Comfort would add a two point conversion and a PAT kick and reclaim the lead at 36 to 29. However, this would be the last time Comfort would see the end zone. Blanco would storm back in the fourth quarter of play scoring three times, the first coming on a spectacular 21 yard run from Kevin Gray. Although the conversion attempt would fail, Blanco would close the gap at 36 to 35. Gray would then help out defensively on the Bobcats’ next possession intercepting a pass deep in Blanco territory to end Comforts’ scoring threat. From here, Blanco would put together a 90 yard drive to regain the lead on Dworaczyk’s 27 yard scoring run up the middle. Newby would then connect with Dworaczyk for the two point conversion and Blanco would regain the lead at 43 to 35. As Comfort took over with less than 4 minutes left in the game, the Panthers were in desperate need of another big defensive play to stop the Bobcats offense. LB Chase Howells would come through with that play by intercepting a deflected Bobcat pass and returning it 50 yards to set up the Panthers inside the Bobcat ten yard line. From here, Blanco would run down the clock and seal the victory with a 5 yard run from Newby to make the final score 49 to 36.
Offensively, both teams would combine for almost 1,000 yards in offense as Blanco would roll up 426 on the ground along with 57 through the air and Comfort would pick up the bulk of their offense through the air with 386 yards. On the ground, the Panthers were lead by Vela and Dworaczyk with 113 and 100 yards respectively, while Eric Collins would add 90 yards and Gray 74.
Defensively, the Panthers would force two key interceptions late in the game, along with a fumble, while shutting down the Bobcat running game at 85 yards.
The win improves the Panthers’ record to 5 and 1 overall and 1 and 0 in district, while Comfort falls to 3 and 3. Blanco will now prepare to host the Brady Bulldogs for homecoming this Friday at 7:30 pm. Brady comes into the game following an easy victory over Mason.