If anyoe was wondering how the Panthers would bounce back from their first loss (a heartbreaking last minute 49-42 loss to Saugatuck last week) since September 30, 2016, they did not have too long to wait. With the Panthers of Parchment visiting, the offense got off to an uncharacteristically slow start, but the defense certainly picked up the slack forcing punts on each of the first three Parchment posessions. Late in the first quarter the offense got things rolling and punched it in twice to open a 14-0 lead before the quarter ended.
The second Quarter was more of the same, with the defense continuing to shut down the Parchment offense and the offense putting up more points. Senior QB Garrett Matthews had two of his three rushing TD’s in the quarter, while Senior WR Jakob Aldrich had one of his two receiving TD’s in the second stanza. As the teams headed to the locker room for halftime Watervliet had opened up a commanding 36-0 lead.
The third quarter was much of the same as Junior RB Don Smith got into the scoring action on the opening possession with an 8 yard TD scamper. After Parchment answered with their first score of the night, Smith hit paydirt again, this time from 30 yards out to make the score 50-8 after three quarters. Parchment was able to add two late TD’s, but it was too little too late as Watervliet cruised home to a dominating 50-22 win.
It was the best defensive performance for the Panthers thus far in 2018. The defense was very stout allowing fewer than 150 total yards through three quarters. Matthews and Aldrich both had interceptions while the defensive line of Jimmie Collis, Dylan Lawson, Allen Chapin, Eric Kehrer, and Derrick Burkhardt led the stout run defense. Junior Collen Doneruse, making his first start at a hybrid LB/DB position, also played well.
Offensively, Matthews, who had done much of his damage through the air in the first two games, led the way on the ground on this night. Matthews, despite not playing in the 4th quarter, had 18 carries for 189 yards and 3 TD’s. Smith also topped the century mark for the second time this season trucking it 22 times for 138 yards and two scores. Aldrich again paced the receivers with 4 catches for 67 yards and two TD’s.
Next week the Panthers (2-1, 0-0) hit the road for the first time this season as they travel to Fennville to face the Blackhawks (2-1, 0-0). It is the last non-division game for Watervliet. Kickoff is set for 7:00.