The 2008 Blanco Panther football season came to an end this past Friday in Dallas at Texas Stadium as the Panthers were defeated by the Daingerfield Tigers 43 to 7. After knocking off the state’s top ranked team a week earlier, Blanco was faced with the task of beating another highly ranked opponent. However, the #8 ranked Tigers proved to be too much for the Panthers as they racked up season highs in points and yardage to give Blanco its first loss of the season.
Although Daingerfield (14-1) ran only two offensive plays in the first quarter, each resulted in a touchdown to give the Tigers an early 14 to 0 lead. These proved to be the first points scored on the Panthers in the first quarter all year. Two early miscues provided the Tigers with excellent field position to set up the touchdowns. Blanco finally settled down and put together a 10 play 69 yard drive ending with a 7 yard TD run by Kevin Gray. Dal Dechert added the PAT to cut the score to 14-7. Although this would be the only points Blanco would score, the Panthers threatened to tie the game on their next possession driving deep into Tiger territory, only to see their chances of tying the game end with a blocked pass attempt on fourth down. After taking over on downs, the Tigers mounted a quick drive to score on a long pass play on fourth down with just 16 seconds left in the half. Following the extra point, the Tigers took a 21-7 lead to the locker room at halftime.
The second half of play saw Daingerfield put the game away in the third quarter scoring two more times, before adding another TD in the fourth quarter. Although Blanco was able to move the ball at times, the Panthers were never able to threaten again.
On the night, the Panthers gained almost 200 yards while picking up 14 first downs. Layton Dworaczyk led all Panther ball carriers picking up 102 yards on 14 carries. Defensively, the Panthers gave up over 340 yards and 18 first downs against the speedy Tigers.
Although Blanco ends the year at 14 and 1, the Panthers put up some impressive numbers along the way. Dworaczyk led the Blanco rushing attack with 1,518 yards on 177 carries for an average of 8.58 yards per carry. Hunter Elrod followed with 932 yards, while Kevin Gray, having missed 5 games, still totaled 849 yards and averaged 11.96 yards per carry. Through the air, Derek Tesch had the most prolific season ever for a Blanco QB, completing over 62% of his passes for more than 1,600 yards and 27 touchdowns. Even more impressive, is the fact that Tesch did not throw an interception all season. On the receiving end of Tesch’s 91 completions, were 11 different receivers. Leading the way in receptions and yards was TE Travis McClinton with 23 catches for 474 yards and 8 TD’s. Following closely, was Dworaczyk with 22 receptions for 451 yards. Overall, seven different receivers caught touchdowns, while six totaled over 100 yards receiving. In the scoring department, Dworaczyk led the team scoring 27 touchdowns for 162 points. Dal Dechert was next with 111 points, 81 of which came from successfully converting 93% of his extra point attempts. Kevin Gray followed next in line with 18 touchdowns. Overall, 14 different players scored for the Panthers this season. Defensively, the Panthers shut down opponents all year. Kevin Gray led the team in total turnovers with six, while tying Dal Dechert with five interceptions. Griffin Giorda, Lance Gottardy, and Hunter Elrod all tied for the team lead in fumble recoveries with two apiece. Overall, 15 Panthers contributed to 31 turnovers. As a team, the Panthers dominated the competition in every statistical category for the season. Offensively, Blanco scored 639 points, outscoring their opponents by 483 points. In regards to total yardage, the Panthers accumulated 6,258 yards, with 4,637 coming on the ground and 1,621 through the air. Defensively, the Panthers recorded 18 interceptions and 13 fumble recoveries, while forcing 50 fumbles. In addition, Blanco picked up five shutouts along the way, while allowing their opponents to score in double digits just six times all year and 20 or more points just twice.