Panther Valley crushes Colts
Bob Ford/TIMES NEWS Panther Valley quarterback Casey Lawrence looks for a receiver while Marian defender Anthony Damiano applies pressure.
Panther Valley's offense is finally clicking on all cylinders.
And it's no coincidence that they're doing so with the improvement of the Panthers' offensive line.
With only two returning starters up front, two players moving there from the backfield, and others stepping in, it took some time for the men in the trenches to gel.
Now that they have experience together, the numbers are getting scary.
Friday night at Marian, PV racked up an impressive 334 yards by halftime and rolled to a 47-14 Anthracite Football League victory over the Colts.
"We had (Greg) Pecha and (Andrew) Tucker coming back and we knew they worked well together, but we moved (Ryan) Richards from fullback to center and (Jason) Harrison also moved. We knew they had to get a feel for each other.
"And then we also have (Anthony) Staivecki, who's a sophomore, coming in and he's not making mistakes and playing steady football. It all starts with the guys up front. I know we have some talented skill players but I can't say enough about the guys up front.
"Richards and Harrison both played fullback last year. They're selfless kids. They offered to play the line for us this year because they knew we'd be weak there. It was a work in progress early on, but now they're one of the main reasons we're doing what we're doing."
Panther Valley quarterback Casey Lawrence has probably been the main beneficiary of the improved O-line. Not only did he have time to throw for 148 first-half yards and a pair of touchdowns, he also had holes to scramble through when he decided to tuck and run.
Lawrence also finished with 141 yards and a score on the ground.
"This was another breakout game for our offense," said Lawrence. "We wanted to come out right away and take it to them.
"We started off the season slow, but we're getting there. I still think we can be a lot better team than what we are right now."
Lawrence and Co. did take it to Marian right from the start. In fact, they took it to them the whole first half.
PV (5-1) scored on all five of its possessions in the opening frames, building a 34-0 advantage.
Kyle McAvoy scored on runs of 11 and four yards. Jeff Corby was wide-open in the end zone for a 30-yard TD catch while Ryan Poeldnurk took a screen pass and went 27 yards for another tally.
"We just did not physically match up with them," said Marian head coach Stan Dakosty, whose team fell to 1-5. "They have an excellent football team. We just have to keep plugging away and hopefully there's a light at the end of the tunnel.
"They put a lot of pressure on you. They put pressure on you with their athletic skill. They're tough to defense and when they get into the open field they're tough to bring down."
Dakosty saw his sophomore back Paul Martin get into the open field a few times in the second half. Martin, who finished with 120 yards, accounted for all his team's scoring with TD runs of 15 and 26 yards and a two-point conversion.
PV closed out the scoring with less than a minute to play when Joe Revell broke loose down the sideline for 64 yards.
"A lot of what Lawrence does with his legs he does on his own," said Damian. "We tried to throw the ball tonight because we knew they were a little depleted in the secondary.
"When things weren't there he knows he has the green light to run. He makes a lot of things happen, and that's another aspect that opponents have to watch out for."