Pana brought a track team disguised by football pads and helmets Friday evening, April 16, when they came to Hillsboro’s Sawyer Field; they brought only three seniors, but the Panther underclassmen used team speed to overwhelm the Topper 42-0; all the points came in the first half, so the clock ran continuously in the second half.
Sophomore quarterback Max Lynch didn’t have to throw often (five times, and he completed three), but the only first quarter score was the result of a 21 yard completion to junior Brenden Schoonover 3:48 after the game began. Another reception that counted statistically was a two-yard shovel pass to Andrew Ambrose earlier in the second quarter that sustained a 12 play, 65 yard Panther touchdown drive; junior Austin Henschen swept right end from 28 yards away for that score in the first minute of the second quarter. Place kicker Bo Christer added both extra point kicks.
That drive began when Ambrose intercepted a Topper pass on the Panther 35.
Schoonover then had three other interceptions before the half ended, all of which led to touchdowns and the end to any competitive aspect of the game. With his team ahead 14-0, Schoonover leaped high to intercept a pass headed for Jace Tuetken and returned it 19 yards to the Topper 28. Three plays later (the biggest was a Lynch sweep to his right for 25 yards), Lynch swept left to score from the 9. This time the kick sailed wide left, but that didn’t bother the visitors.
When three running plays netted two yards for the Toppers, Henschen returned the ensuing punt to the Topper 40 where a hustling Magnus Wells caught him from behind. Lynch ran up the middle to the end zone from there, then shoveled the ball to Ambrose for a two point conversion to raise the score to 28-0. 5:17 remained in the half.
Zane Duff carried for four before Blaze Helton gained seven to give the Toppers their second first down of the quarter (the first was by an encroachment penalty). Then a fourth down play lost 10 yards and Pana had the ball on the Topper 39.
On the next play, the last pass Lynch would throw was carried into the end zone by Schoonover. Christer added the extra point, and a quick clock seemed a possibility.
After a two-yard run, Hillsboro went to the air again, and Schoonover intercepted the pass again at midfield. 1:41 remained in the half. On the first Panther play after the pick, Lynch raced to the 30, but a holding call brought the ball back to the Pana 49. Not bothered by the annoyance, Henschen raced to his left sideline, turned the corner, and made the possibility a reality by scoring point 41. Christer made it 42-0, and the mercy rule was in place for the second half.
Schoonover made his third interception a play before the half ended, and what a half it had been for the visitors. Lynch had carried 12 times for 162 yards, rushing for two tds. in the process while passing for two more; he accounted for 225 yards in the 24 minutes. Henschen carried only six times for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Schoonover caught two touchdown passes and intercepted three Topper passes; none of them touched the ball in the second half. The Panthers, who didn’t score an offensive touchdown against Vandalia last week, are now 3-1. The Panthers host Staunton next week; Pana did not find an opponent to replace Litchfield on their schedule this spring.
The Toppers conclude their spring season next week in Piasa at Southwestern High School. Game time is 7 p.m.
Now that the home varsity football season is over, it’s time to thank volunteers who help games at Sawyer Field proceed in an orderly fashion.
Working to keep the chains moving as teams proceeded up and down the field this spring for at least one varsity game were Guy and Ben Sheridan, Darren Wright , Mark Hughes, and Fred Butler.
Regulars in the press box were P.A. announcer Blake Malloy, clock operators Scott Paden and Hugh Satterlee, spotter Rick Vogel, and scoreboard operator/play clock man Zach Frailey. If someone had to miss a game, another would fill in. Their work was needed and appreciated.
April 16 at Hillsboro
Hillsboro 0 0 0 0 0
Pana 7 35 0 0 42
1st - 8:22 - Pana - Brenden Schoonover 21-yard pass from Max Lynch (Bo Christer kick)
2nd - 11:17 - Pana - Austin Henschen 26-yard run (Bo Christer kick)
2nd - 7:17 - Pana - Max Lynch 9-yard run (kick failed)
2nd - 5:17 - Pana - Max Lynch 44-yard run (Andrew Ambrose pass from Max Lynch)
2nd - 2:27 - Pana - Brenden Schoonover 39-yard pass from Max Lynch (Bo Christer kick)
2nd - 1:24 - Pana - Austin Henschen 51-yard run (Bo Christer kick)
Passing (4-14-57): Zane Duff 4-14-57, 4 INT.
Rushing (36-69): Blaze Helton 17-54, Zane Duff 17-25, Joe Keiser 1-0, Jace Tuetken 1-(-10).
Receiving (4-57): Jude Bertolino 2-36, Jace Tuetken 1-12, Drew Willman 1-9.
Defense (solo/assists): Blaze Helton 6/4; Magnus Wells 6/3; Jackson Hamby 4/2; Brady Huber 2/2; Drew Willman 3/1; Jaben Compton 1/3; Jude Bertolino 1/2; Maddex Scott 3/0; Ian Malloy 1/1; Jace Tuetken 1/0; Dalton Reynolds 1/0; Garet Schaake 0/1.