“[I’m] really proud of how well we addressed the first road game,” said head coach Chanler Buck. He said the Panthers got off the bus prepared for the competition and went out showing energy and emotion in a classy manner.
After forcing a Jackson punt to start the game, the Panthers marched the ball down the field on their first possession to score on a 7-yard run by junior quarterback Kaelan Groves. Sophomore Garrett Stutzman kicked the PAT for an early 7-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Stutzman made two field goals, including a 42-yarder, to take a 13-0 lead into halftime.
Jackson blocked a 25-yard field goal attempt from Stutzman to open the second half, but on the very next possession, Powell scored on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Groves to junior Carson Heinen. A two-point conversion attempt on a fake PAT failed, and the Panthers led 19-0.
With 10:23 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Panthers scored their final touchdown of the game as Ethan Asher scampered into the end zone from three yards out. The PAT was good, giving Powell a 26-0 lead.
With time winding down in the fourth quarter, Stutzman showed off his leg, booting a 47-yard field goal to close out the game with a 29-0 win.
“Kids did a nice job,” said Buck. “We kept the game plan pretty simple and just wanted to get easy execution out of the way and I think we got a lot better. It was good to see a good step forward there Friday night.”
Powell scored on all but one of their possessions, and didn’t punt once. Also addressing a major concern that haunted the team the first two games of the season, the Panthers finished the game without a single turnover.
“[We] cleaned up our execution, especially up front,” Buck said. “Our offensive line did an outstanding job executing up front and we were able to get a ground game established and control the football game on the ground.”
Junior Jacob Harrison broke out for 149 yards on 20 carries, Ethan Asher had seven carries for 17 yards and senior Brooks Asher had three carries for 20 yards.
Groves completed 6 of 12 passes for a total of 58 yards passing and one touchdown. Buck credited the offensive line for stepping up their game.
“Offensively, [the] line collectively did a nice job,” Buck said. “[It] was good to see some kids come together and start to build some trust and confidence and execute and make big plays.”
Heinen had three catches for a total of 30 yards and one touchdown.
As a team, the Panthers had 187 yards rushing and 58 passing for a total of 245 yards. The Panthers’ defense held the Broncs to 211 yards.
With holding the Broncs scoreless and recording several tackles for a loss, Buck said “defensively [the] kids did a phenomenal job.”
After the game last week against Worland, coach Buck said the Panthers were needing some consistency on special teams and offense.
“It was good to see not only things start to click on offense and special teams — we’ve been playing good on defense — but it was good to see those other two aspects really make a big difference in a game,” Buck said.
With the win over the Broncs, the Panthers have a 1-1 conference record and are 1-2 overall.
On Friday, Powell will hit the road again for a non-conference game against the undefeated Buffalo team. Buffalo is off to a strong start, beating Worland last week 24-12 and Cody 10-7 the previous week.
“They’re the real deal this year, so it’ll be good to see how we match up against a good opponent,” Buck said. “Hopefully we have a good, healthy productive week in practice and can get prepared for a team that’s probably going to have a bit more speed than what we’ve seen. They’re very physical and very disciplined, and so it’ll be a good test for us.”
All stats came from Scott Mangold’s broadcast on KPOW, as official team stats weren’t available at press time.