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Nativity shuts down Panther Valley

Sometimes statistics don’t tell the story of the outcome of a football game.

But in Friday night’s 34-0 Nativity win over Panther Valley, they certainly did.

The Panthers managed just seven first downs in the game. And adding 99 rushing yards to the 39 through the air, a total of 138 offensive yards aren’t going to get many teams into the victory column.

Offensive drives were not sustained as PV didn’t cross the midfield stripe until the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter.

“It’s frustrating,” said Panthers head coach Rick Jones, “especially after we had a great week of practice. We should have done better.”

The home team looked like they were off to a great start when running back De’Antay Alston broke through off right tackle for 18 yards to the PV 46-yard line, but on a third and 12, Nativity’s Julius Walborn intercepted a pass along the visitor’s sideline and scampered untouched for a 55-yard touchdown to put the Green Wave ahead 7-0 early in the contest.

Panther Valley followed with a three-and-out on its next series.

Nativity quarterback Cody Miller then led his team on a 48-yard touchdown drive that culminated with a 3-yard burst to paydirt by Fletcher Eades with 3:58 to go in the opening frame.

On their ensusing series, the Panthers did get a first down on a Michael Pascoe run, but the drive stalled again.

PV’s first five pass attempts fell incomplete.

“We dropped a few, and then we just ran the wrong routes,” said Jones.

The Panthers were only down by two scores as the second quarter began, but Nativity quickly put up points again, making the lead nearly insurmountable for Jones’ young and mostly inexperienced squad.

Senior running back Stephen Spolski took a handoff from Miller and found a hole through the left side of the Panthers’ defense. After a cutback toward the sideline, he carried the rock to the house for a 41=yard score.

Now down 21-0, the Panthers were forced to punt again.

Starting at their own 49-yard line, Miller was sacked for an 8-yard loss by PV’s Austin Hadley and Mergim Bushati. On the very next play, Miller hooked up with Stephen Spolski for a 57-yard TD to send the Green Wave into intermission with a 27-0 advantage.

At the start of the third, Nativity (3-2) threatened to score again on its first drive to the PV 1-yard line, but a big loss on a bad snap and a solid stand by the Panthers defense kept Nativity out of the end zone.

The visitor’s final score came after a seven play, 36-yard drive when Eades plowed across the goal line for his second TD of the game.

In the fourth quarter, freshman Nasir Ervine entered the game for Panther Valley and showed some quickness and athleticism by gaining 26 yards, mostly on wildcat snaps from center.

“We’re so young right now and a year away from being the best we can be,” said Jones, whose Panthers fell to 0-3. “The stage is too big for many of them right now.”

RECRUITMENT NIGHT ... The Panthers wore camouflage jerseys as part of a sponsored campaign to help recruit new members for the United States National Guard.

UP NEXT ... Next Friday, the Panthers travel to Tower City to take on the Vikings from Williams Valley.