VAN ALSTYNE — The Panthers showed no mercy as they stomped through a 63-10 victory over Callisburg at home in Van Alstyne on Friday, Oct. 27. The Panthers sat atop a confident lead in the final quarter of the game and showed no signs of slowing, with the Van Alstyne offense keeping the ball in the Wildcats’ end of the field.
The points kept rolling in for Van Alstyne until the game concluded, with Panther kicker Austin Moore continuing his hot streak by not missing a single kick attempt throughout the duration of the competition.
“I’m looking forward to trying to win district and going to win playoffs,” Moore said. Moore credited the victories Van Alstyne has celebrated this season to team effort, saying the advice he would give to his Panthers to continue winning would be to “play as a team, work hard, never give up on your teammates.”
The Wildcats started the action at the end of the first quarter after scoring the first points of the game courtesy of a 23-yard field goal from Callisburg kicker Julian Diaz — which was not enough to keep Van Alstyne from answering back with a vengeance after a 41-yard touchdown pass to Chase Wilson from Panther quarterback Rhett Gallagher and the extra point from kicker Moore that ended the Wildcat lead, 3-7, going into the second quarter.
The rest of the game was one-sided as Van Alstyne (6-2) did not let up and the Panther offense kept control of the competition all the way to the end in the final quarter when Brandon Hutson scored the the only touchdown of the night for Callisburg (1-7), with Diaz kicking for the extra point to give the Panthers a 10-56 lead in the opening minutes of the final quarter. The offensive rally for Callisburg was quelled abruptly when Tanner Jones broke away from the Wildcat defense to run in a 46-yard touchdown for the Panthers midway through the fourth quarter. Moore kicked it clean for the extra point for the final point of the game to give Van Alstyne a whopping 53-point lead to end one of the highest scoring games of the season for the Panthers.
“Our execution offensively, we scored almost every time that we had the ball and defensively after the first quarter we settled down and started playing better defense,” Van Alstyne head coach Mikael Miller said.
The competition was a free-for-all for the Van Alstyne offense at the end of the first half, with Jake Carroll highlighting the first half when the Panther ran for a 16-yard touchdown followed by the extra point from Moore for a 28-3 lead over the Wildcats going into the second half. The scoring frenzy continued for Van Alstyne with Justin Barnes scoring a 29-yard touchdown that drove the home crowd wild as the Panthers and their supporters saw Moore solidify a 35-3 lead with a kick for the extra point.
“Barnes did a really good job running the ball for us, he really stepped up and helped us out offensively,” Miller said.
Gallagher continued to lead the Panther offense with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Moore with 5 minutes to go in the third quarter. With the extra point kicked by Moore, Van Alstyne finished the third quarter with a towering 42-3 lead over Callisburg.
With the victory in the books, Miller and the Panthers look forward to taking on Pottsboro and Whitesboro in the coming weeks as the Panthers travel the road to the Bi-District Championship.
“Whitesboro and Pottsboro are both undefeated, so I guess you could say we are in third place right now,” Miller said.
Miller said the key to victory in these next two crucial games will be to “play really good defense obviously, stopping their quarterback.” Miller said of Pottsboro’s offense, “they have a really good quarterback, so stopping the quarterback will be the key to helping us get a win.”
With two more games left in district, the Panthers keep their eye on finishing off their rivals before working towards adding another bi-district title to the program’s trophy case.
“We still got to win one of these games to get into the playoffs so we will see what happens.” Miller said.
Van Alstyne will take the field again on Nov. 3 when the Panthers travel to Pottsboro (6-2) to take on longtime rivals the Cardinals. Callisburg will continue to work towards a district victory against the thus far undefeated in district Whitesboro (5-3) at the Wildcats home field.
Follow the Panthers and the district 10 playoff action online at www.VanAlstyneLeader.com/Sports for the latest scores and updates as the regular 2017 Texas high school football season draws to a close and the Panthers work to earn a spot in the top four to continue the postseason.