Hyatt competes at Regionals

By Griff Servati
For the Van Alstyne Leader
Blake Hyatt wrapped up his junior season by being the lone VA runner at the regional meet.

    Blake Hyatt, the outstanding junior runner, competed at the regional cross country meet on November 10 in Dallas.  Blake was the lone qualifier for the Van Alstyne Cross Country team for the regional meet. Competing against 128 others, Blake finished in 22nd place, missing the opportunity to advance to state by just four spots. 

The Panthers finish the season, make the playoffs. 

    The season that we all wondered if it would happen has finished its course. We all held our collective breath with all of the uncertainty surrounding returning to in-person school and competitions, not knowing if the season would be completed. The Panthers only had one game affected by coronavirus, when Gainesville had to cancel, but a substitute was found in Mabank. The regular season came to an end with a loss at home to Aubrey this past Friday night. 

    Gavin Montgomery led the team from the quarterback position for the season, passing for 806 yards and leading the team in rushing with 902 yards. Jaden Mahan, the sophomore running back, had 466 yards on the season, with junior Gavin Bybee gaining 263 yards. Montgomery’s two main targets in the passing game were Dakota Howard and Collin Reynolds. Howard, a sophomore, led the team in receiving yards with 359 with an average of 22 yards per catch. Reynolds, a junior, had 242 yards receiving on the season. 

    Collin Reynolds led the Panther defense with 56 tackles on the season, with senior Jacob Gallardo having 39 followed by sophomore Cade Whitley with 35. Gallardo also led the push up the middle with six quarterback sacks on the season. 

    The Panthers finished their first season at the 4A classification. Van Alstyne is the smallest school in the statewide division. The Panthers finished the season with a record of 3-7. Only one of those victories came in district play, a win over Krum, was enough for the Panthers to enter the state playoffs. The top four teams of each district qualify for the playoffs, and a five-team district put the Panthers in the playoffs in the fourth place spot. Aubrey won the district, with Celina and Sanger finishing ahead of Van Alstyne.     

    The Panthers will open postseason play against Graham, the district champion out of District 3. The Steers outscored their district opponents 236-35 and will enter the game with a 7-1 season record. The playoff contest will be played on a neutral site at Boyd High School on Friday, November 13, with an early kickoff at 7:00 pm. All tickets will be in person at the gate.