On a beautiful early autumn evening, the Miami Trace Panthers welcomed the East Clinton Astros to Panther Stadium Friday night.
It was a very good night for Miami Trace and, conversely, a very tough night for the Astros as the Panthers posted a 61-0 victory.
“The kids played really well,” Miami Trace head coach Steve Bartlett said. “The East Clinton kids played hard and our kids just played great football.
“We started in with our j-v offense there in the second quarter,” Bartlett said. “Our j-v’s were out there pretty much the entire second half.”
The Panthers passed for the first two touchdowns and after that, it was all on the ground for Miami Trace.
Miami Trace led 28-0 at the end of the first quarter and 49-0 at halftime.
The Panthers had 127 yards rushing in the first half on 25 carries, compared to 15 yards on 15 carries for East Clinton.
The Panthers had 200 yards of offense in the first half to 14 for East Clinton (the Astros had -1 yard passing).
Skyler McDonald was 2 for 2 passing with a 34-yard touchdown strike to DeAndre Pettiford at the 11:28 mark (just the second play of the game) and on Miami Trace’s next possession, McDonald hit Tyrae Pettiford down the middle of the field for a 40-yard touchdown.
Blake Pittser’s PAT’s made it 14-0 with 9:52 to play in the first quarter.
Miami Trace scored on their third possession, a 2-yard run by Malik Jackson. Pittser’s kick made it 21-0 with 3:06 to play in the opening quarter.
On their next possession, East Clinton fumbled and the Panthers’ Dalton Bartley recovered at the EC 21-yard line. Moments later, Tiante Connell scored on a 4-yard run. Pittser’s kick made it 28-0 with 1:51 to play in the first quarter.
The Astros’ next possession ended in a turnover as Coby Hughes had an interception at the EC 24-yard line.
At the 11:03 mark of the second quarter, Trevor Moore scored on a 1-yard run.
Pittser’s PAT made it 35-0, Panthers.
No sooner did East Clinton set up their offense did Brady Wallace pick off an Astros’ pass and ran it into the end zone from 30 yards. The extra-point kick made it 42-0 at the 9:22 mark of the second quarter.
After another quick series, the Astros had to punt away to the Panthers.
This time, Josh Liff ran the ball in from 10 yards out and with the kick it was 49-0 with 5:35 to play in the first half. That was the final score of the half.
Midway through the third quarter, with the j-v offense on the field for Miami Trace, Austin Mathews took the ball around the end, found the visitor’s sideline and raced down for an 83-yard touchdown.
The PAT was no good, making it 55-0 Panthers at the 7:36 mark of the third quarter.
Just a couple of minutes later, Elijah Sauceda stepped in front of an East Clinton receiver, intercepted the pass and raced 30 yards for the touchdown.
Again, the extra-point was no good, making it 61-0 Panthers at the 5:25 mark of the fourth quarter.
With the running clock in play, time soon slipped away.
Tyler Taylor had an interception for the Panthers with just 25 seconds remaining.
It was the fifth turnover of the game for East Clinton.
The Panthers are now 5-2 overall, 2-2 in the SCOL.
East Clinton falls to 0-7 overall, 0-4 in the SCOL.
The Panthers travel to Wilmington next week to take on the Hurricane.
East Clinton will visit Hillsboro to play the Indians next Friday night.