The Blanco Panther football team put together one of their best games of the year this past Friday defeating the Junction Eagles 48 to 0, but more importantly, Blanco clinched a play-off spot while also lowering their magic number to clinch the district championship to just one more victory. The Panthers played a balanced and complete game on both sides of the ball to improve to 7 and 1 on the year and 3 and 0 in district play.
Blanco would start the game strong and play steady throughout, led by QB Derek Tesch and his 5 touchdowns. Tesch would have a hand in all five of the Panther’s first half touchdowns, while defensively, the Panthers would not allow Junction to cross mid field until after halftime. Tesch would put Blanco on the board on their first drive of the night via a 1 yard run. Ross McCormick would add the PAT to make it 7 to 0. Tesch would go to the air on the Panther’s next drive finding Kevin Gray for a 15 yard strike. Following a missed kick, the score would be 13 to 0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Panthers would put the game away in the second quarter with three touchdowns. Sr. Shane Klein would score the first of two touchdowns in the quarter on a diving 19 yard pass play. Tesch would then connect with Eric Collins for the two point conversion. Blanco would keep rolling on their next drive and end up with another 1 yard run by Tesch. Although Blanco would fumble the extra point, the Panthers proved to have the game at hand. As the half would come to a close, Blanco would find the end zone one more time on a 12 yard pass from Tesch to Klein as time expired. Justin Warner would add the conversion run to make the half time score 35 to 0.
Blanco would continue to dominate the second half of play, scoring two more times, once in the third on a 4 yard run by Layton Dworaczyk and on a 2 yard run by Eric Collins in the fourth. Dal Dechert would convert on 1 of 2 extra points to help make the final score 48 to 0.
Offensively, Blanco would pick up a season high 32 first downs, while totaling 449 yards. Tesch would connect on 8 of 12 passes for 140 yards and 3 TD’s, while adding two more scores on the ground. The Panther ground game would continue to dominate its opponents racking up over 300 yards behind Kevin Gray’s 111 yard effort to go along with 92 and 65 yards from Collins and Dworaczyk respectively.
On the defensive side of the ball, Blanco would limit the Eagles to just 8 first downs and only 118 yards, while forcing two turnovers. Sr. Cody Harvey would be credited with two sacks resulting in more than 20 lost yards for the Eagles, while Warner, Lance Gottardy and Chace Howells would make several strong plays throughout the night.
Blanco will now look to wrap up the District 8 Championship this Friday when the Panthers host the Sonora Broncos. Sonora comes into the game at 4 and 3 overall and 1 and 2 in district play after losing to Brady 25 to 0 last week. The Broncos also lost 14 to 7 to Junction with their only district win coming over Mason at 21 to 0. Kick-off is set for 7:30 pm at Panther Stadium.