The 7th Grade Panthers may have been a little nervous at the onset of the first quarter playing in front of their home crowd this past Thursday; however, once the boys settled in the crowd got what they came to see… Blanco Football. This was the 7th Grade Panthers’ first home game this year and, for some, the first opportunity to play on the High School field. If there were any jitters, they soon passed.
The Hawks elected to receive the opening kickoff and returned it only 3 yards to start at their own 42-yard line. The Hawks were able to move the ball on the ground against Blanco’s defense and then completed a 40-yard pass that put them at the 6-yard line. The next play was a run up the middle that resulted in a first touchdown for Mountain Valley and the game, PAT failed, and put Mountain Valley out front 6-0. The ensuing kick-off had the Panthers starting at their own 14-yard line. A couple of runs by Adrian Dominguez helped Blanco gain some ground. Blanco had first and 10 at their own 45 when guard Canyon Burkhart pulled around to the right and landed a key block that opened the lane for running back Chase Horton, sprinting 35 yards down to the Hawks’ 23-yard line. The next play, running back Adrian Dominguez darted 22 yards around the left side down to the 1-yard line. Two plays later, Dominguez ran around the right side for the Panthers’ first TD. Horton added on the PAT with a run around the left side, putting Blanco out front 8-6. The Hawks started on their own 42 following the kick-off. The Hawks were moving the ball until Panthers’ safety Justin Williams intercepted a Hawks’ pass and returned it to Blanco’s 25; however, Blanco returned the favor and fumbled the ball on their 30. A few plays later and after a change in quarter, the Hawks were able to take advantage of the short field and made their second [and last] TD, and PAT failed. This put the Hawks out front 12-8. Blanco started their next offensive series at their 35-yard line and went 3 and out. The Panthers punted and Mountain Valley’s offense began at their 38, but Panthers’ cornerback Trent Dechert intercepted a deep pass and returned it to Mountain Valley’s 45. Two plays later, quarterback Jordan Wagner connected with Eddie Dominguez for 40 yards and Blanco’s second TD. Chase Horton ran in the PAT, putting the Panthers out front 16-12 going into the half.
Blanco returned the second half kick-off to mid-field and, 2 plays later, running back Eddie Torres scampered around the left side 50 yards for another Panther TD. The PAT failed but put Blanco up 22-12. Blanco’s defense held the Hawks’ next offensive series and took over on the Hawks’ 37; however, Blanco also went  and out on their next offensive series and the Hawks regained possession on their 39. The Hawks marched down to Blanco’s 9-yard line before linebacker Eddie Dominguez caused, and recovered, a Hawk fumble. Blanco’s offense was unable to move the ball and, being deep in their own territory, they elected to punt. Hawks took over on Blanco’s 25. Set up with a short field and the clock running down, Mountain Valley came out passing but were quickly picked off by safety Justin Williams… Blanco took over again on their 9 and got as far as their 39 before turning the ball over on downs. With little time left on the clock, the Hawks came out passing, only to throw another interception, this time by Eddie Torres who took it back 70 yards for Blanco’s final TD as time expired… final score, Blanco 28, Mountain Valley 12.
The Panthers’ defense had a big day in their victory over Mountain Valley. They played with a tenacious unwillingness to give up the ground game and forced a fumble; in addition, the secondary had an outstanding performance, spoiling Mountain Valley’s passing game with three interceptions. This puts the 7th Graders at 2 and 1. The Panthers travel to Ingram next for their first District Game.
Stats: Adrian Dominguez – 12 carries for 83 yards and 1 reception for 40 yards; Eddie Torres – 4 carries for 54 yards; Chase Horton – 1 carry for 35 yards; Jesse Ferrell – 3 carries for 16 yards.
To view pictures of the game, visit: http://sites.google.com/site/blancomsfootball/