The Blanco Panthers continued their march through District 27-AA, defeating the Harper Longhorns 44 to 15 this past Friday. While the win keeps Blanco a perfect 8 and 0 on the year and raises their district record to 4 and 0, it also clinches a play-off spot for the Panthers.
Although the first quarter proved to be sluggish for both teams, ending in a scoreless tie, the Panthers exploded for 30 points in the second quarter of play. QB Derek Tesch put the first two scores on the board for Blanco with runs of four and five yards respectively. Layton Dworaczyk followed with a nine yard run. The Panthers continued to pour it on the Horns with David Hostetler getting credit for a safety when he sacked Harper’s QB in the end zone. The safety was made possible after a deep kick from Dal Dechert and a great special teams’ tackle from Dillon Luke pinned the Horns at their own two yard line. Following the safety, the Panthers would get excellent field position on the ensuing kick-off after Dworaczyk had another long return to put the ball deep in Harper territory. From here, Tesch found TE Travis McClinton for a 20 yard touchdown pass with just seconds remaining in the half.
With the game firmly at hand following a frantic second quarter, the Panthers put two more scores on the board in the second half. Dworacyzk would get his second TD of the night on an eight yard run, while Griffin Giorda scored one on the defensive side of the ball, falling on a fumble in the end zone after Tyler Berryhill had forced a fumble on a quarterback sack. Although Harper would trade scores with the Panthers in the second half, the game was never in doubt, as Blanco rolled to another win.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Panthers were lead on the ground by Dworaczyk’s 117 yards and two TD’s, while Hunter Elrod would also top the 100 yard mark for the evening at 104 yards on nine carries. Tesch continued his stellar play accounting for an additional 63 yards through the air to go along with three scores, two rushing and one passing. In addition, Dal Dechert once again would finish perfect on the night converting all six of his PAT’s. For the game, Blanco gained almost 400 yards en route to picking up 24 first downs.
Defensively, Blanco was just as dominant for most of the game, not allowing the Horns into Panther territory until late in the third quarter and just once more in the fourth. The Panthers held the Horns to only 64 yards rushing and eleven first downs, while forcing two fumble recoveries by Giorda, as mentioned earlier, and Adrian Young.
The Panthers will now return home for their final home game of the year as they host the Johnson City Eagles. JC comes into the game at 1 and 6 overall and 1 and 2 in district play. Blanco will look to improve to 9 and 0, while setting up a possible winner take all for the district championship the following week when they close out the season at San Antonio Cole. Kick-off for the Johnson City game is 7:30pm at Panther Stadium.