Panthers too much for Wildkats in opener

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Superior Sun

Despite only a limited number of practices under their belt due to some late scheduling changes, the Panthers looked in midseason form as they routed the Duncan Wildkats last Friday, 48 – 0. The game was the season opener for both schools.

“We came out focused and determined,” Panthers’ head coach Ryan Palmer said after the game. “The players did an excellent job of executing the game plan, especially on defense. It was a total team effort.”

The shutout was the first by a Panthers’ team since a 42 – 0 season opening win over Patagonia on August 28, 2009. Sophomore Edgar Pacheco led the team with nine tackles in the game. Seniors Eric Oatis and Matthew Zavala each tallied seven tackles. Elias Olmos had a 20-yard interception return.

Newcomer Michael Salazar made a first good impression with his new teammates, scoring three touchdowns (1 rushing, 2 receiving) in his first game. He led the Panthers with 116 all-purpose yards. Sophomore quarterback Gage Cruz proved to be too much for the Wildkats defense, rushing for 81 yards on 10 carries and throwing for 152 more with three touchdown passes. Pacheco made an impact on offense too, rushing 63 yards and two touchdowns. Austin Navarrette caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Cruz, as well.

“Our speed was the biggest factor,” Palmer answered when asked what his team did well in the victory. “We were definitely outsized, but our team speed more than made up for it.”

Palmer saw some things which need to be improved, including more consistency on offense. Against some stiffer competition, lack of consistency could come back to haunt his team. Reducing mental mistakes and penalties are also areas of concern for the Panthers’ coach. With a bye this week, the Panthers will have time to work on improving in those areas.

“We were able to bail ourselves out with the big play,” said Palmer, referring to how the Panthers overcame mistakes in Friday’s game. “We will be game planning for Ft Thomas, but we are going to use this extra week to get better at technique, fundamentals and timing.”

The growing pains of last year appear to have paid dividends so far. The Panthers equaled last season’s win total in the first game of this season. And it’s likely just the first of many more in 2014.

After a bye this week, the Panthers take on Ft Thomas in their home opener on September 5. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

Andy Luberda (318 Posts)

Andy Luberda began writing for Copper Area News Publishers (CANP) in February 2013 after working15 years in Healthcare Financial Management. Andy covers sports for eight high schools. His stories are published in the Southeast Valley Ledger, Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner and Superior Sun. Additionally, he has written human interest stories and business profiles. In May 2012, he earned an AAS in Sports Management at Central Arizona College. Andy is currently earning a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from ASU’s Hugh Downs School of Communication. Andy is scheduled to complete his degree December 2014. He was born and raised in Des Plaines, Ill. In 1992, he relocated to Arizona. After a short return to Des Plaines in 1997, he returned to the Phoenix area two years later. He and his wife, Kelli, have three sons – AJ, Kyle, and Kade.


facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
facebooktwitterby feather

Comments are closed.

  • Stories Just Posted

    Support the American Red Cross and become an everyday hero March is Red Cross Month

    February 27th, 2015
    by

    TUCSON— In honor of Red Cross Month in March, the American Red Cross encourages people to uncover their inner hero […]


    March 3rd Marks the Celebration of U.S. Navy Reserve’s 100th Anniversary

    February 27th, 2015
    by

    Washington DC, – The Navy Reserve will mark its centennial anniversary on Tuesday, March 3rd with a series of events […]


    Gaspard de la Nuit at Desert View Performing Arts Center

    February 25th, 2015
    by

    On Sunday, March 1, at 3 p.m., join The Oracle Piano Society for Picturing Ravel: Gaspard de la nuit, A Musical Soliloquy at SaddleBrooke II, 39900 S.


    Documentary film ‘Power’s War’ completed

    February 25th, 2015
    by

    Pinal Nugget On Feb. 15, 1918 the Graham Guardian newspaper’s headline said “OFFICERS KILLED IN BATTLE WITH SLACKERS”.


  • Stories Just For You

    Town of Superior fire truck renovation begins

    February 24th, 2015
    by

    Superior Sun In November 2014 Henry Munoz presented the Superior Town Council with a proposal to renovate the 1947 Pierce Fire Truck as a representation and honor to the past


    Legends of Superior Trail Fest attracts outdoor enthusiasts

    February 24th, 2015
    by

    The Legends of Superior Trail Committee along with their partners Resolution Copper, Arizona Trail Association and the Superior Optimist Club hosted the fourth annual Legends of Superior Trail Fest on Saturday.


    Four local young wrestlers win state championships

    February 24th, 2015
    by

    Copper Area News Four local wrestlers won state championships in their respective weight classes at the AzUSA Wrestling Folksytle State Championships, which took place last weekend in Casa Grande, Arizona.


    Mt. Vista baseball and softball teams prepare for Spring

    February 24th, 2015
    by

    San Manuel Miner It is getting close to Spring which means baseball and softball season is right around the corner.


  • Facebook

  • [Advertisement.]
  • Arizona Headlines & Current Weather

  • Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin