PITTSBURG — Following a big week two victory over rival Frontenac, it would’ve have been easy for the St. Mary’s-Colgan Panthers to let off the gas pedal a bit with Baxter Springs rolling into town.
Instead, the Panthers dominated on all three levels once again Thursday night, culminating into a 47-8 victory.
“Our senior leadership has been key for us.” said Head Coach Shawn Seematter. “Those guys set the tone during the summer. Also, Coach Snow continues to do a great job with our defense, and it shows through the results on the field.”
Senior Cal Marquardt left his stamp on the matchup, coming away with two interceptions and two touchdowns for the Panthers, including a 89-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second half.
“Cal is one of the seniors that the other players look up too because he gives 100 percent effort on every play.” said Seematter.
Marquardt displayed a high football IQ before the snap on his second interception.
“They lined up with double wideouts to the right, with a receiver in the slot. They ran a ‘whip’ route throughout the game, so I read the play and jumped the route. Once I got the ball, I just kept running.” said Marquardt.
The Panthers rushing attack was on display from the onset. After stopping the Lions on the opening two possessions with three-and-outs, Colgan’s Matthew Lomshek put the home team on the board with a 17-yard rush.
Colgan quarterback Cade Simmons rushed for 50 yards in the first half. Simmons scampered into the endzone from five yards out in the first quarter, and from two yards out in the second, to give Colgan a 20-0 lead.
Coach Seematter promised to balance the offense this week, and it showed with Simmons finding Marquardt on a 20-yard touchdown strike down the right sideline.
Even with a big lead on the scoreboard, the Panthers left a few big plays on the field, including a 40-yard Marquardt punt return in the second quarter.
When the dust settled, the Panthers had built a 27-0 lead going into the half.
The Panther’s defense engulfed the Lions, holding them to negative total yards in the first quarter.
The trend of the defense stopping the Lions offense, leading to explosive plays on the ground, continued in the second half.
After Colgan forced another three-and-out on defense, Panther halfback Kash Marietta responded with a 40-yard touchdown rush down the right sideline to give Colgan a 34-0 advantage.
Marquardt continued his impressive game in the second half, picking off a interception with six minutes to go in the second quarter.
Marietta punched in the touchdown from the 10 yard line to push the lead to 41-0.
“Our offensive line deserves the credit for our success on offense.” said Marietta.
“They’re a powerhouse, and they have opened rushing lanes for us all season.”
On the next Lion’s possession, Derek VanBecelaere’s nine-yard sack on third down cut short another Baxter Springs drive.
Baxter Spring’s got on the board late, when Kevin McCully’s 30-yard rush set up a score from halfback Austin Hendrix.