The 2009 Blanco Panthers wasted little time in clinching a spot in the post season, as the Panthers ended the visiting Longhorns’ five-game winning streak with a 33 to14 win at home this past Friday. Blanco was shut out in the first quarter and fell behind early, only to take control and put the game away in the second half for their seventh win of the season.
In the first quarter of play, Harper took the opening drive deep into Panther territory before stalling and missing a 42-yard field goal attempt. However, the Panthers were unable to move the ball on their initial possession and then turned the ball over on fourth down when the Longhorns blocked Blanco’s punt attempt and took over deep in Panther territory. From here, Harper’s offense faced a stingy Blanco defense that would allow nothing more than a 27-yard field goal, as the Longhorns led 3 to 0 at the end of the first quarter.
Finally, with the first quarter behind them, Blanco mounted back to back scoring drives in the second quarter of 43 and 98 yards. Both drives ended with Layton Dworaczyk TD runs of 4 and 14 yards. Cody Barnett successfully converted on one of the PAT attempts to give Blanco a 13 to 3 lead. On their ensuing possession, Harper drove to the Panther three yard line, only to turn the ball over on 4th down when junior Gavin Garrow intercepted the Harper pass in the end zone and downed on the one yard line. Although Blanco averted a Longhorn touchdown, the Panthers were buried deep inside their own one yard line and, on their first play of the drive, the Panthers yielded a safety to Harper as Blanco was called for intentional grounding in the end zone. This made the score 13 to 5 at the half.
The second half saw Blanco return with a vengeance as the Panthers scored on three straight drives. The first drive covered just 49 yards following a 39-yard kick-off return by Gavin Garrow. The Panthers marched down the field in 13 plays taking 6:46 off the clock and then added to their lead with a one-yard run by Dworaczyk. Barnett added the extra point, making the score 20 to 5. The Panther offense would follow up on their next drive going 60 yards in 7 plays to see senior Corey Dowlearn bull his way in from three yards out. A failed PAT left the score at 26 to 5 as the third quarter came to an end.
In the final quarter of play, Blanco mustered one final score going 40 yards in 4 plays, with Dworaczyk getting his 4th score of the night on a 13-yard run. Barnett converted his third PAT of the night as Blanco closed out their scoring at 33. Although Harper managed to score late in the game on a 19-yard run and successful extra point attempt, the Blanco defense held on for a 33 to 12 win, improving to 4 and 0 in district play.
For the night, Dworaczyk led all ball carries with 141 yards on 22 carries. The Panthers followed up with a balanced ground attack of Corey Dowlearn, Kyle Garrow, and Tanner Rogers rushing for 70, 46, and 45 yards respectively. As a team, the Panthers totaled over 340 yards on the night and picked up 20 first downs.
Defensively, Blanco limited the potent Harper offense to just 10 first downs and less than 230 yards, while finally giving up their first touchdown to a district opponent in 15 quarters of play.
The Panthers will now begin preparations for Friday’s game at Johnson City. The Eagles come into the game following a 56 to 42 loss to the Cole Cougars. JC stands at 2 and 5 on the year and is 1 and 2 in district play. With a victory, Blanco can clinch the district title before returning home to close out the regular season against Cole. Kick-off at Johnson City is set for 7:30pm.