The Saratoga Sun -

Panthers take homecoming game from Chiefs 47-6

Saratoga football takes charge in first conference game


Saratoga Panther Sam Schneider evades a tackle to run the ball in for a touchdown Friday.

The Saratoga Panthers football team may have gotten off to a few slow starts in its early games this season, but at its homecoming game Friday, the team resoundingly dominated their opponent from the game's opening kickoff to the end.

Facing off against the Chiefs of Wyoming Indian High School, the Panthers delivered a decisive win, taking the game 47-6. The score would have been even higher were it not for one interception run back for a touchdown that was called back due to a flag on the play.

"We kind of called the dogs off a little bit in the second half," Kegan Willford, the Panthers' head coach said. The team decided to slow things down a bit during the second half, and allow some younger players to earn some game time.

The first conference game of the season for the Panthers seemed to be just what the team needed to overcome a bit of malaise it had been suffering during earlier non-conference games. In those games, the defense played strong, but the offense was not yet firing on all cylinders.

This time, however, both defense and offense were hitting the field and the opponent hard.

"We tried a different strategy this week," Willford said. "We marched right down and right away put points up on the board, and when you can do that it puts a lot of pressure on the other team."

Saratoga drew first blood in the game, with Panther Sam Schneider making a 30-yard touchdown rush in the first seconds of the game to put the Panthers on the board first.

The Chiefs answered right away, with 67-yard pass that was run in to the end zone, tying the game 6-6. For the Chiefs, however, that was the only bright spot for the entire evening.

Almost immediately, the Panthers answered by running the ball 10 yards for a touchdown and conversion, upping the score to 13-6.

Saratoga then followed up with an 8-yard touchdown rush by Dalton Peterson which bought the score up to 19-6. A successful 2-point conversion meant the Panthers-at the end of the first quarter-were beginning to look like a runaway train.

In its two previous outings, the Panthers had been on the other end of such decisive scoring, ending the first quarters with a sizable deficit to overcome. This time though, the Panthers came out charging, and didn't relent all the way into the second quarter.

That quarter started out with a slow drive to the goal line, with Schneider again putting six points on the board with his 1-yard rush. Schneider then reprised his performance putting six more up, bringing the score 33-6.

A pass by Schneider to Dalton Peterson in the end zone was good for the 2-pointer, leveling the score at 35-6.

Finishing off the second quarter, Saratoga scored again, meaning the boys went into halftime with an impressive 41-6 lead.

The second half, the Panthers slowed down, Willford said. A good lead against a team that was back on its heels was a good opportunity to allow some younger players to take the field and get in some experience.

Dalton Peterson is tackled after a successful pass.

In the third quarter, a 25-yard pass by Wyatt Cox found a home in the arms of Schneider who again ran the ball to the end zone for the last points of the game, which brought the score to 47-6 in favor of the Panthers.

Heading into Friday's game, Willford said the team's goal, beside striving toward an offense that was on parity with the defense, was to limit turnovers and penalties. In the one regard-turnovers-the team was successful.

Overall, Saratoga had three fumbles. But, the team was penalized eight times for a loss of 50 yards, and one touchdown of an interception was called back due to a penalty by the Panthers.

"We still had quite a lot of penalties compared to what our goals were," Willford said. "So that's something else we need to work on; not being our own worst enemy."

The next scheduled game for the Saratoga Panthers is set for 6 p.m. Friday against Shoshoni in Fremont County.


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