Friday, October 27, 2017
Schoolcraft High School
Watervliet High School
The Panthers welcomed the Schoolcraft Eagles to Panther stadium for a first round playoff game Friday night. The game was a rematch of a week 8 showdown that Watervliet won 36-14.
The Watervliet defense set the tone for the night on the opening Eagle possession, forcing a quick 3 and out and punt. The offense took little time as Senior QB Zack Pickens went untouched on the first offensive play for a 65 yard TD burst to give the home team the early lead. The defense continued to make it tough sledding for the Schoolcraft offense allowing the offense to punch in another TD in the first quarter, another Pickens scamper, this time from 40 yards. The Panthers O twice more drove inside the Eagle 20, but failed to come away with any points. Meanwhile the defense pitched a first half shutout to help pace the home team to a 14-0 halftime lead.
Watervliet took little time in the third quarter to add to their lead. Pickens hit junior WR Garrett Matthews for a quick 50 yard strike. Two plays later Pickens found senior WR Bryant Kieft in the back of the end zone for a 20 yard TD strike . After the 2 pt. play the Panthers took a 22-0 lead. Later in the quarter Pickens again went up top, this time to senior WR Trent Boone, for a pretty 40 yard TD pitch and catch. The offense then hit the ground in the fourth quarter, grinding out much of the clock on a 85 yard TD drive that was 100% runs. Senior RB James Bell capped off the drive with an 8 yard TD plunge to finish the scoring at 36-0.
The story of the night was the defense. The Panthers not only shutout the Eagles, but held them to just 150 yards of offense on the night (45 of which came on one play). The linebacker crew of Ryan Chisek, Anthony Wade, Bryant Kieft, and Lamarrius Smith played particularly well in shutting down the Eagle option attack.
Offensively the Panthers rolled up 425 yards on the night. Pickens was 7/17 passing for 151 yards and 2 TD passes. Pickens also led the ground attack with 26 carries for 178 yards and two more TD’s. Worth noting is the 151 passing yards put Pickens over 3000 yards passing on the season, the first Panther QB to ever surpass that number. Garrett Matthews led the receiving corps with 4 catches for 110 yards.
The Panthers (10-0) move on to round two to face another familiar opponent as Delton-Kellogg (6-4) makes the trip to Panther Stadium. Game is set for next Friday, November 3rd at 7:00 pm.