Panthers drop first home game of season

Christian Perez hands the ball off to Mason Hewitt  (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

Christian Perez hands the ball off to Mason Hewitt
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

The Panthers ended their home game winning streak of three on Friday night, falling to conference champion, East St. Louis Flyers, 46-14.

“When you play a talented team, you need to play mistake free football. We did not do that at times and gave them sort fields to work with,” said Head Coach Brandon Joggerst.

In a game that started off slow offensively, it was the Flyers who scored steadily and the defense that stepped up for East St. Louis, who posted a shutout in the second and third quarter.

Heading into the game, both teams were at the top of the conference offensively, and both teams had prepared to focus on their defenses this week.

The Panthers defense stepped up early on defense, forcing a fumble on the first drive, but couldn’t put points on the board.

It was the Flyers who would then make their mark on special teams, blocking a punt which was returned for a touchdown. The extra point attempt was then blocked by O’Fallon, and the Flyers would take a 6-0 lead in the first quarter.

Then with just over three minutes left in the first quarter, it was the Flyers who put more points on the board on a rushing touchdown from three yards out, to make it 12-0 mid-way through the first quarter after the 2-point conversion attempt failed.

The Panthers would then respond with a touchdown of their own by Richard Cosey from four yards out to make it 12-7 East St. Louis after one quarter.

After a shutout posted by the East St. Louis defense in the second and third quarter, it was the Flyers who were out to a 32-7 lead after three.

The Panthers finally found the endzone again early in the fourth quarter after an interception returned for a touchdown to make it 38-14, but that was as close as the Panthers would get.

Coach Joggerst did see some positives in the game though saying, “I thought we competed hard and gave good effort. Defensively, I thought we played very well in spurts.”

The Panthers would end their home game winning streak of three and drop their final game of the season 46-14 to top-ranked East St. Louis to end their season at 5-4.

Looking forward to the playoffs, Coach Joggerst said, “I think we will have a good energy at practice. The players should be excited about participating in the playoffs.”

O’Fallon hit the five win mark for the season, and became playoff eligible. The Panthers

will travel in the first round to face top-ranked Loyola Academy this Saturday.