NAUGATUCK – The Tug Valley Panthers needed a win and they got it and then some.
Last Friday the Panthers welcomed Montcalm for a game that they desperately needed in order to stay playoff relevant. The Panthers won the game 50-14 thanks to some quick work on special teams and en engulfing defensive effort.
The Panthers had it all in this one with a punt return, a few pick sixes’, and big rushing performances from all the usual suspects.
Dawson Elia got the ball rolling with an 83-yard kickoff return in the opening seconds of the game. He also added the two point conversion run to make the Panthers score 8-0. Johnathan Blankenship kept the momentum alive at the end of the first quarter with an 8-yard keeper into the end zone. The Panthers failed to add the two point conversion.
Blankenship returned in the second quarter to punch into the end zone from 1-yard out, he added the two point conversion with a connection to Colby Savage to put the Panthers up by 22 points.
Montcalm returned fire with a 68-yard catch and score on the very next drive but couldn’t convert the conversion making the score 22-6 heading into halftime.
In the second half Noah Lucas bulled into the end zone from 1-yard out setting up Levi Davis to add the two-point conversion. The Panthers jumped ahead 30-6 with 5:30 left to play in the third quarter.
Montcalm got the ball back and worked down the field until Blankenship snagged a pass out of the air and returned the ball 48-yards to pay dirt, Chandler Pack added the conversion run to put the Panthers at 38.
Tug valley added two more scores in the fourth quarter on a 38-yard TD from Davis and a 39-yard Pick Six from Kyle Sturgell to make the panthers final score 50.
Montcalm ran back a 63-yard kick return late in the game and added a two point conversion but the damage was done.
The Panthers help Montcalm to 41-yards rushing and 71-yards passing but did give up the long bomb on the 68-yard pass.
Tug, on the other hand, compiled 243-yards rushing on 38 carries with 55-yards receiving on four completions.
Davis led the way for the Panthers ground attack with 81-yards and a score on eight carries, Blankenship finished with 79-yards on nine carries with two scores, Lucas had 55-yards on 12 carries with a score and Chandler pack rounded it off with 25-yards on five carries.
Defensively the Panthers had 39 tackles with Lucas leading the way with 12. Chris Ellis had four tackles with one for a loss of yardage, Kyle Vance had three tackles with one for a loss of yards and one sack, Sturgell had three tackles with one for yards loss and one interception returned for a TD. Blankenship had two tackles, one for a loss of yardage with one interception returned for a TD, and Zach Samuel also had one interception.
Scores by Quarters:
MC: 0 6 0 8 – 14
TV: 14 8 16 12 – 50
(William Plaster is the sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News, he can be reached at 304-235-4242 ext. 2274 or at [email protected] on on twitter @sidplaster.)