Panthers dispossessed by Demons
By John Earp
The undefeated Jal Panthers Varsity Football Team faced off against the undefeated Dexter Demons last Friday night in Panther Stadium, in what was expected to be a real challenge for the Panthers, having mercy-ruled the Demons last year 50-0 at Dexter. The Demons came loaded for bear, shutting down Jal’s offense almost completely, only allowing Jal one touchdown in the last moments of the game, while Dexter slowly but steadily scored in each quarter for a total of 30 points.
The Panthers received the kickoff and were unable to advance the ball much due to a holding penalty followed by a fumble by Nolbert Cervantes which was recovered by Dexter on their 48-yard line. The Panther Defense was able to hold the Demons to just a couple yards on the ensuing drive, forcing a punt from near midfield.
Nolbert Cervantes gained 5 yards on a quarterback keeper, gaining a first down on the Dexter 45 with about 7:30 remaining in the first quarter. A penalty for “hurdling” drove the Panthers back to a 3rd and 17 position, and incomplete pass forced the Panthers to punt on 4th. On the ensuing punt return, Dexter was penalized for blocking in the back, which put them on their 19-yard line. The rest of the 1st quarter was at a slow plodding pace, with neither offense being able to advance the ball very far. With 57 seconds remaining, Dexter took the ball on the 50, and then completed a pass to number 15, who ran it down to the 20-yard line as the first two Panthers to try to tackle him just rag-armed him, failing to bring him down. On 2 and 10, the Dexter quarterback completed a 20-yard pass into the end zone, received by Kevin Villalobos. Dexter led 8-0 with 30 seconds left in the 1st.
At the beginning of the 2nd quarter, Jal had the ball near midfield. With a 3 and 12 on the Dexter 45, a false start was called on the Panthers, pushing them back 5. The Panthers’ characteristic quarterback keeper and/or option was just not working as it usually did. The Demons appeared to have been ready and able to stop this staple of the Panther arsenal, and the Panthers’ passing game was apparently not viable enough to be used.
The Panthers were able to stop the Dexter Offensive drive at their 40-yard line. A delay of game penalty against Dexter pushed them back to their 35, after which they elected to punt. Panthers took over possession on their 37-yard line with 8:21 remaining in the first half. Nolbert Cervantes and Andre Rodriguez were able to advance the ball for a first down on the Dexter 46. Panthers had 1st and 10 on the Dexter 36-yard like with 6:48 remaining in the half. Cervantes was sacked for a five-yard loss. Panthers went for it on 4th and 7 from the Dexter 32-yard line, but the pass was batted away at the last second by a Dexter defender. Dexter took over possession with 5:03 remaining in the half. The Panther Defense was able to prevent the Demons from completing several pass attempts, and on 4th and 9, Dexter kicked a high but short punt. With 3:43 remaining in the half, Jal took over in the Dexter 45. Andre Rodriguez was able to gain over 15 yards on the next play for Jal, but unfortunately was hit causing a fumble which Dexter recovered on their 25.
Dexter quarterback #4 ran the ball through traffic, untouched, into the end zone, with 1:41 remaining in the half. Dexter was successful with their two-point conversion, and led Jal 16-0.
Ito Arroyo received the kickoff and ran it to the Panther 38-yard line. A fumble by Cervantes was recovered by David Gaytan but for a significant loss, on the Panther 24-yard line. This led to another Panther punt. Dexter was ineffective in advancing the ball in their next drive. Nevertheless, the Panthers were definitely struggling going into halftime, while the Demons had come ready to get revenge for the 50-0 whooping Jal gave them last year in their own house.
Dexter came out swinging in the second half, advancing in two plays to the Jal 26 after the kickoff. On the next play, with just over a half minute of play having transpired, Dexter put it in the end zone again. Two-point conversion was unsuccessful. Dexter led 22-0.
Andre Rodriguez received the onside kickoff for the Panthers on the Jal 35-yard line. Jal failed to get their offense into gear, and ended up punting once again from their 24 on 4th and 16. A bit of a fight broke out with 9:20 remaining in the 3rd quarter, with unsportsmanlike conduct called against Dexter. The ball was placed on the Dexter 40, with 2nd and 20. The Dexter Offense was able to advance to the Panther 20, but a long Dexter pass was intercepted by Ito Arroyo on the 2-yard line, thwarting the demonic drive. Andre Rodriguez then ran the ball for 7 yards. Rodriguez then advanced the back for a 1st down, with 6:30 remaining in the 3rd. Unfortunately, the Panthers were unable to advance beyond the 22, with Cervantes appearing to be injured by a tackle with 4:40 left in the 3rd. Cervantes was carried off the field by a coach on each side, with possibly a knee injury. Daniel Ornelas kicked a long punt on 4th down, moving the ball to the Dexter 38-yard line.
The Panthers were able to hold the Demons off on their next drive, with an interception by Ito Arroyo, resulting in a touchback, gave the Panthers possession on their 25. A face mask penalty on Dexter gave the Panthers 1st and 10 on their 40. The Demons were able to keep the Panthers from advancing, however. A false start penalty against the Panthers put them in a 3rd and 15 situation. The Panthers’ tried and true option was basically shut down by the Dexter Defense for the entire game.
The Panther Defense continued to have trouble wrapping up on tackles, resulting in numerous extra yardage for the Demons. This was a definite contrast from how the Panthers played last year. The Panthers saved face somewhat with a touchdown as the time was up for the game. Final score 30-6, Dexter Demons defeating the Jal Panthers in their Homecoming Ga