The Blanco Panthers had to face one of their tougher tests this past Friday when they traveled to Round Rock to take on the Rogers Eagles. With one of the more potent rushing attacks in the area, Rogers proved to be a tough opponent. However, the Panthers were up to the test in claiming their 11th win of the season to set up a rematch of last year’s regional semi-final game against Industrial.
Blanco wasted little time in stating their case for the area championship as Layton Dworaczyk ran back the opening kick-off 92 yards to put the Panthers up 6 to 0 following a failed 2 point conversion attempt. While this may have set back some opponents, the Eagles were unfazed and answered quickly on their first possession, scoring on a 60 yard run to tie the game at 6 apiece after failing on their conversion attempt. The Panthers, however, struck back on their next possession driving 75 yards in 10 plays to close out the drive with a 10 yard Dworaczyk run. The Panthers continued to struggle, failing on another 2 point conversion, but Blanco regained the lead 12 to 6 as the opening quarter came to a close.
The second quarter would see both teams move the ball with some effectiveness, only to bog down and either turn the ball over on downs or be forced to punt. When faced with a 4th and long situation in their own territory, and the Eagles looking at excellent field position, David Hostetler dealt a crucial blow to Rogers’ hopes when he uncorked a 66 yard punt to put the Eagles back on their own 20 yard line. The Panthers managed one serious threat with just seconds left in the game, driving to within inches of a two touchdown lead at the half. The drive, which started in Blanco territory, was highlighted by a 20 yard pass play on a throw back from Dworaczyk to QB Tanner Rogers. Rogers then followed with a key completion to Kyle Garrow for a critical first down. After pushing the ball to the 13 yard line, Tanner Rogers connected with Corey Dowlearn for what would appear to be a touchdown with Dowlearn bulling his way across the goal line. However, the officials spotted the ball just inches short of a touchdown and Blanco would go to halftime leading 12 to 6.
The second half would see the Eagles score on their opening drive to claim a 13 to 12 lead following a successful PAT. Blanco, however, answered on the ensuing drive moving the ball 77 yards in just five plays, highlighted by a 53 yard TD pass from Rogers to Dworaczyk. While sprinting down the sideline, Dworaczyk was given an open field following a devastating block from Dillon Luke to remove the last hope the Eagles had of stopping the score. The Panthers followed up on the TD with Rogers passing to Kyle Garrow for the 2 point conversion to put Blanco back on top 20 to 13 at the end of the third quarter.
In the final quarter of play, Blanco took control of both sides of the ball. Offensively, the Panthers added two more Dworaczyk touchdowns from 4 and 82 yards, the second of which was set up by the Panther defense forcing Rogers to turn the ball over on downs deep in Blanco territory. After taking over at the 18 yard line, Dworaczyk iced the game for Blanco scoring on the first play of the drive. Although the Panthers continued to struggle with their PAT’s, failing on both, Blanco closed out the game by the final score of 32 to 13.
For the game, Blanco’s offense racked up 476 yards and 20 first downs. Leading the way was Dworaczyk with 483 all-purpose yards; 318 yards rushing, 92 return yards, 53 yards receiving, and 1 pass completion for 20 yards. In all, Dworaczyk tallied 5 TD’s; 3 rushing, 1 receiving, and 1 via a return. Others contributing to the Panthers’ offensive dominance included Corey Dowlearn with 45 yards on the ground and Tanner Rogers, who completed 4 of 8 passes for 79 yards and a TD.
Defensively, Adrian Young, David Hostetler, and Henry Greathouse led a defense that forced the Eagles into punting four times, while turning the ball over on downs three times. In addition, Ethan Evans eliminated another Rogers’ threat with his second interception of the year.
Blanco will now take on the Industrial Cobras in a rematch of last year’s regional semi-final which Blanco won 42 to 21. Industrial comes into the game at 11 and 1 following an easy 35 to 0 win over Three Rivers this past week. Kick-off is set for 6:00pm Friday in San Antonio at Alamo Stadium.