The 2008 Blanco Panther football season began with a bang as the Panthers dominated Canyon Lake for the season’s first win. Blanco looked impressive on both sides of the ball totaling over 550 yards in offense, while the defense would allow just 217 yards and force five turnovers.
Offensively, the Panthers were almost perfect in the first half scoring on all six of its possessions. Senior Kevin Gray tallied 162 yards rushing to lead all ball carries. However, even more impressive is that he did this on just three carries, two of which went for touchdowns from 53 and 67 yards. Also posting some impressive numbers was senior QB Derek Tesch, who accounted for three more Panther scores. Through the air, Tesch would finish four of six with two touchdowns to Anthony Vela from 5 and 14 yards. Tesch added his third score on a 16 yard run to close out the first half. The only other Panther to find the end zone in the first half would be Layton Dworaczyk on the Panther’s opening drive, as he bulled his way into the end zone from 10 yards out. The second half would see only two offensive scores from the Panthers as Hunter Elrod and Dal Dechert each scored on runs of 12 and 4 yards respectively. On the ground, Dworaczyk and Elrod joined Gray as the second and third rushers to top the 100 yard mark for the night. One other offensive stat that was almost overlooked was the impressive kicking of Dal Dechert, who successfully converted all nine of his extra point attempts.
On the defensive side of the ball, Blanco shut down the Hawk’s running game allowing just four yards on the night. Although the Panthers would give up over 200 yards through the air, Blanco did force 4 interceptions by Tesch, Dechert, Corey Dowlearn and Gray, with Gray returning his 28 yards for one of the Panthers’ nine touchdowns. In addition to the teams’ four interceptions, senior LB Lance Gottardy would force and recover a fumble for the Panthers’ fifth take away on the night.
Blanco, which opened the season ranked in the top twenty in most statewide polls, will now turn their focus to the Luling Eagles. Luling, which lost to Wimberly in their season opener, will prove to be a good test for the Panthers as they feature a potent running game and an aggressive defense. Kick-off in Luling is set for 7:30 pm this coming Friday.