Battle Mineola at home for post-season berth
By David Barber
Monitor Staff Writer
VAN—A slew of turnovers and an overpowering Van Vandal offense put away the Mabank Panthers 55-10 Nov. 1at Van Memorial Stadium.
Even with the loss, the Panthers (2-7, 1-3) hold playoff destiny in their own hands. A victory Nov. 8 in Mabank in the winner take-all regular season finale against Mineola (4-5, 1-3) would launch Mabank in the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
The rest of the District 13 3-A playoff-bound teams have already been determined. Athens has locked up a district championship with their undefeated season, while Van (3-6, 3-1) and Canton (4-4, 3-1) battle it out Nov. 8 for second place.
Dylan Scheider was a bright spot for the otherwise stuggling Panthers. Filling in for the injured Clay Gaddis, Scheider ran for 167 yards on 21 rush attempts, for an average of 7.95 yards per carry.
Van’s offense was a powerful force against Mabank, scoring on its first six offensive possessions and wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard first against the Panthers.
The Vandals moved 73 yards in eight plays as Maddox connected with wide receiver Layton Myers on a 15-yard touchdown pass play to end the initial march. Josef Ruiz added the extra point to give the Vandals a 7-0 lead with 9:12 to play in the first quarter.
Key plays in the first Vandal touchdown march included a 15-yard run by Maddox, running gains of 25 and 14 yards by Savis and a 14-yard pass completion from Maddox to wide receiver Luke McGowan.
Following an unsuccessful onside kick attempt by the Vandals, Mabank had excellent field position at the Van 48.
Seven plays later, the Panthers faced a fourth down and three at the Vandal 16 when Pedro Valdez was sent in to attempt a 33-yard field goal.
The kick was perfect and the Panthers trailed the Vandals 7-3 with 4:57 remaining in the first quarter.
Van began to stretch its advantage on its next possession as the Vandals moved 61 yards in seven plays.
Savis ended the drive with a one-yard touchdown run. Ruiz added the extra point to give the Vandals a 14-3 lead with 2:55 remaining in the first quarter.
Key plays in the Vandal scoring drive included a 12-yard run by Savis and pass completions from Maddox covering 10 yards to McGowan and 19 yards to wide receiver Kendrick Jones.
Mabank’s next offensive series resulted in a turnover as a pass from Panther quarterback Cody Thompson down the sideline on first down at the Mabank 42 was intercepted by Vandal cornerback Myers at the Van 28.
Six plays later, Maddox connected with Jones on a 34-yard touchdown pass play. Ruiz added the extra point to give Van a 21-3 lead with 32 seconds still to play in the first quarter.
A 13-yard pass completion from Maddox to McGowan and a 12-yard run by Savis were key plays in the Vandal scoring march.
The Panthers stormed back as they advanced 86 yards in six plays to cut into the Vandal advantage.
Reserve quarterback Garrett Holcomb ended the drive with a two-yard touchdown run. Valdez added the extra point to bring the Panthers within 11 points at 21-10 with 9:50 to play before halftime.
A 67-yard run by the Mabank running back helped to set up the Panther touchdown.
The Vandals began to put the game out of reach on their next offensive series as they moved 71 yards in four plays.
Maddox connected with Myers on an 11-yard touchdown pass play to end the march. Ruiz added the extra point to give the Vandals a 28-10 advantage with 8:48 remaining in the second quarter.
Running gains of 11 yards by reserve running back Deundre Johnson and 45 yards by Savis set up the touchdown pass.
Following a Mabank punt, the Vandals advanced 61 yards in 10 plays for their next score.
Savis ended the march with a 12-yard touchdown run giving Van a comfortable 34-10 lead with 3:27 to play in the second quarter. The extra point attempt was wide left.
A 12-yard pass completion from Thompson to wide receiver Andrew Parry and a 12-yard run by Holcomb allowed Mabank to move as deep as the Panther 34 before later being forced to punt.
The Vandals moved 60 yards in seven plays to close out the first half scoring.
Maddox connected with Savis on a 14-yard touchdown pass play to end the drive. Ruiz added the extra point to give Van a commanding 41-10 lead with 32 seconds to play before intermission.
Running gains of 11 yards by Jones, 17 yards by Savis and 17 yards by Maddox set up the touchdown pass.
The first possession for the Panthers in the third quarter resulted in a turnover as a fumble by Thompson was recovered by Van defensive tackle Carlos Lemus at the Mabank 19.
Five running plays later, Savis ended the short drive with a four-yard touchdown run. Ruiz added the extra point to give Van a 48-10 advantage with 7:06 to play in the third quarter.
Savis also had a 13-yard run in his final series of the game.
Mabank moved from its own 25 to the Vandal 47 in five plays including an 18-yard run to set up a fourth down and six but the pass from Thompson to wide receiver Dalton Reeder was incomplete giving the ball back to the Vandals.
Seven plays later, Vandal reserve quarterback Brett Doring, seeing his first extended action as the signal-caller, ended the drive with a 12-yard touchdown run. Ruiz added the extra point to give the Vandals a 55-10 lead with 32 seconds to play in the third quarter.
A 14-yard run by Johnson and an 11-yard pass completion from Doring to wide receiver Brendan Curtis, the only Vandal pass play in the second half, were key plays in the final scoring drive for Van.
The Panthers moved as deep as the Vandal 7-yard line as Mabank executed eight consecutive running plays including a 17-yard gain by the Panther RB setting up fourth down and goal.
The scoring threat for Mabank came to a close as a short pass from Thompson gained no yardage giving the Vandals possession.
The Vandals finished with 32 first downs and 526 yards of total offense including 317 rushing and 209 passing.
Vandal quarterback Peter Maddox completed an astounding 14 out of 15 passes for 198 yards and four touchdowns, all in the first half.
Running back Matt Savis rushed for 166 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns in addition to catching two passes for 41 yards and one touchdown.
Mabank was held to 14 first downs and 251 total yards including 209 rushing.