Panthers pull away to capture district opener

Jerry Powers
For the Herald Democrat
Van Alstyne's Jackson Allen breaks free for a long touchdown catch during the Panthers' victory over Krum in District 4-4A (II) play.

VAN ALSTYNE — The Panthers continued their strong start to the season as they pulled away from the Krum Bobcats for a 43-14 victory in the District 4-4A (II) opener.

A year ago this match-up decided the final playoff berth but Van Alstyne (6-1, 1-0) has already doubled its win total and looking to finish higher in the district standings than the fourth-place spot from last season.

Gavin Montgomery completed 7-of-10 passes for 211 yards and four touchdowns while Jaden Mahan ran 28 times for 145 yards and a score, Jackson Allen caught two passes for 102 yards and two TDs, Lucas Lindley finished with three receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown and Gavin Bybee totaled two catches for 48 yards and a score for the Panthers, who have the bye on Friday before playing at Celina on Oct. 22.

Conley Clark had 10 carries for 15 yards and a touchdown and threw for 58 yards as Krum (4-3, 0-1) finished with 127 total yards.

Both defenses got off to strong starts before Krum took over near midfield and Clark capped the drive with a four-yard touchdown run in the middle of the first quarter.

Early in the second quarter Montgomery connected with Allen on a 65-yard touchdown pass to tie the score and the Panthers went in front late in the first half on a 19-yard field goal from Diego Hernandez.

Van Alstyne was able to get the ball back before the second quarter ended and Hernandez gave the Panthers a 13-7 lead with a 47-yard field goal as the half ended.

Krum nearly came up with a turnover to begin the third quarter when Case Koiner intercepted a pass but he fumbled on the return and VA recovered.

Hernandez missed a field goal after the Panthers reached the Krum 25-yard line but the Bobcats’ ensuing drive went nowhere.

Van Alstyne took over at midfield following a punt and three plays later Montgomery hit Allen for a 37-yard touchdown with 4:21 left in the quarter.

Deverin Brown returned the kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown to get Krum back within 21-14 but the Panthers scored three times in the final 15 minutes to break the game open.

Bybee’s 39-yard TD catch came late in the third and Lindley had a 40-yard touchdown grab early on the fourth to make it 35-14.

VA closed out the scoring on Mahan’s 46-yard run with 5:36 remaining.