Panthers blitz Linden-Kildare
The Alba-Golden Panthers packed one thing in their kitbag for Linden-Kildare last Friday: intensity. Each play, on both sides of the ball, the Panthers played with a level of intensity which shaped …
Panthers blitz Linden-Kildare
The Alba-Golden Panthers packed one thing in their kitbag for Linden-Kildare last Friday: intensity. Each play, on both sides of the ball, the Panthers played with a level of intensity which shaped the entire game. The 38-0 win was a fitting result.
The game was no cakewalk. Alba-Golden took a 6-0 lead into halftime before reaping the benefits of that intensity in the second half and finishing with a cascade of scoring.
The Panthers stuffed the Tigers on the opening possession of the game. They were quickly tested again however, when the punt was muffed and Linden-Kildare took over again – this time at the Alba-Golden 42.
A quarterback scramble and wide receiver screen took the ball to the Panther’s five. A pass interference call gave the home side four tries from the 2-yard line. The Panthers stuffed the runner for no gain on first down. On second down, Luke Sutton very nearly picked the Tigers’ pass attempt. On third down Sutton teamed with Jason Langsten to throw the Tigers back with a 15-yard loss. Under pressure, on fourth down, the Tiger pass sailed incomplete.
Buoyed by the defensive stand, Alba-Golden embarked on a 12-play, 83-yard drive. The drive was typical Alba-Golden football: a grinding running game shaped by blocking schemes which closed defenders quickly, runners who scratched every possible inch out of every run and a complementary passing attack. It was the best drive of the season, to date.
While limiting the Tigers to a total of 58 yards from scrimmage in the first half, the Panthers twice drove the ball inside the Tiger’s 5-yard line. On the first such drive, they misfired on three consecutive attempts to hit a slant route for a score.
Moments later Brayden Randolph made a very nice read in the secondary and picked off a Linden-Kildare pass, giving the Panthers the ball back near midfield.
Quarterback Easton Campbell hit Sutton on an out-route which Sutton turned upfield for a big gain. The Panthers, however could not punch it in the end zone, and went into halftime with a 6-0 lead.
The conditioning of the Alba-Golden side shone through in the second half. When the Tigers were not being battered by an aggressive Panther defense (Alba-Golden allowed one yard from scrimmage in the second half), the relentless combination blocking schemes of the Panthers destroyed the will of the Linden-Kildare side.
Alba-Golden scored on drives of 60, 66, 50 and 28 yards in the second half. Payton Dickinson returned an interception 40 yards for a score when he came off his receiver and perfectly read a deep pass early in the third quarter.
The Panthers’ passing attack was indeed complimentary to the running game. Campbell connected on 11 of 19 pass attempts to four receivers. The aerial game accounted for 146 of Alba-Golden’s 361 total yards from scrimmage.
There were many significant contributors in what was a true team win. Of specific note was the work of Campbell, Dickinson, Langsten, Sutton, Glen Hartley, Donald McVay, Dylan Nichols, Tyler Perez and Jerry Skinner.
It is not often in Texas high school football when a team opens a season with back-to-back shut-outs. It takes a special type of trust within a team to keep an opponent off the scoreboard. Whatever that ingredient is, it appears the 2022 Panthers have it.
The pre-district tuning continues Friday when Alba-Golden hosts the Clarksville Tigers.