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Panther Valley rally falls short

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    Panther Valley’s Rene Figueroa has some open running room against Hamburg Friday night. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

Published September 01. 2018 01:37AM

No coach will tell you that there is a moral victory in a loss, but Panther Valley coach Scott Price likes how his team competes right up to the final buzzer.

“We stand up to adversity,” said Price after the Panthers lost to Hamburg, 34-22, Friday night.

Last week’s fourth-quarter rally defeated CMVT, but scoring 16 in the final 12 minutes last night fell short . PV, however, did put a scare into Hamburg in the final 1:33 when it tackled the Hawks’ punter on the Hamburg 37-yard line, but couldn’t capitalize on the short field.

“We saved all three timeouts, so we had a shot,” said Price, but an interception with 19 seconds left sealed their fate.

Hamburg’s first play from scrimmage put Panther Valley in a deficit with less than two minutes gone when Hawks’ quarterback Patrick Hanlon hooked up with Shaheed Warren on a 56 pass-and-run touchdown. Warren had a big night for the visitors, accounting for 317 of Hamburg’s 434 total yards. He was a force to bring down on inside runs, and once he broke free he outran the Panther defense to pay dirt.

“We went to the straight wing T offense this year because we had Warren and Hamilton, two good backs,” said Hamburg head coach Chuck Kutz. “Our inside trap plays were very effective tonight.”

They were so effective that Warren scored three of his four TDs on the night with off tackle runs and definitely was the difference maker in the game.

PV quarterback Ethan Reis, starting just his seventh varsity game behind center, had another outstanding performance. The junior threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns. While often scrambling from the pocket, he threw several accurate passes, his best coming when he perfectly led Blake White, who had a step on a Hawk defender for a 55-yard TD late in the game.

“Ethan is a great athlete who competes every single play,” said Price. “We could play him anywhere and he’d still perform at a high level.”

With the Panthers down 20-0 with eight minutes to go in the second quarter, the game looked like it was heading for a second-half mercy rule, but the Black and Gold, even down 28-6 early in the third, would fight back to get in it. Running back Rene Figueroa spun off some long runs to spark the Panthers’ comeback.

After Reis hit Carter Brettle for a 12-yard score and a two-point conversion, PV was down by 14 with still 11 minutes to go in the game, but time and opportunity would run out leaving the Panthers with an even 1-1 record going into next week’s game against Jim Thorpe.

Price put the blame for the loss upon himself.

“I have to do a better job of coaching,” Price said. “I need to prepare my team better and manage the game better.”

He pointed to too many mental mistakes that contributed to big plays for Hamburg as the determining factor in the outcome.

“I can’t ask for a better effort from my team,” he said.

After being down by 22 midway through the third quarter, PV would outscore the Hawks, 16-6, the rest of the way and still have a chance to score twice with two minutes left to play.

WHITE NIGHT ... PV wide receiver Blake White had a monster game, catching seven passes for 179 yards and one touchdown.

HE’S BACK ... Reis went down with what appeared to be a serious injury in the third quarter and was replaced for a series by Kyle Rusnak, but he returned to play effectively for the rest of the game.

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