September 28, 2013 - 12:17 am
Palo Verde never really got untracked in the first half of Friday’s home game against Silverado.
The Panthers had just two first-half possessions and only a 7-0 halftime lead against the Skyhawks.
But three key Silverado mistakes early in the second half, allowed Palo Verde some breathing room on its way to a 21-6 win.
“They’re very physical and they’re very big,” Palo Verde coach Darwin Rost said. “He’s got a good group there … they’re going to compete down in their league.”
The No. 7 Panthers (2-1) took the second-half opening drive 62 yards, sparked by back-to-back Silverado penalties — a face-mask infraction and an unsportsmanlike conduct on the sidelines — to extend their lead to 14-0, as Jaren Campbell rumbled in from 2 yards out with 7 minutes, 21 seconds left in the third.
Moments later, Silverado’s Rohan Walters fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the Panthers wasted no time in scoring in three plays. Quarterback Parker Rost hit Jake Ortale with an over-the-shoulder touchdown strike from 17 yards out at the 6:18 mark.
Campbell finished with 94 yards rushing for Palo Verde, and Rost threw for 53 yards and two touchdowns. Calvin Beaulieu contributed with 54 yards rushing.
“They were a tough team … we just needed to get down the field and get yards,” Campbell said. “It was pretty frustrating, but we got our heads straight and moved the ball downfield to score. They got to the ball fast. We had to work to get around of them.”
Trailing 7-0 late in the first half, the Skyhawks missed their best opportunity at seizing momentum and tying the score.
After forcing the Panthers to punt, Silverado dominated the time of possession with a 17-play drive that started on their own 10-yard line and ended on a 4th-and-goal at Palo Verde’s 4-yard line. Quarterback Armani Jones-Sailor was sacked at the 8-yard line, and the Panthers took over with time running out. Rost took a knee and a touchdown-lead into the locker room at the half.
“That’s something we got to try to do with our offense,” Rost said, of Silverado’s ball-controlled scheme. “We hung in there … you gotta battle all the way to the end.”
Silverado’s Jarrett Alipio was the game’s offensive star, rushing for a game-high 122 yards on 24 attempts, and caught one pass for 31 yards. Jones-Sailor threw for 126 yards, and tight end Austin Hunt hauled in four receptions for 95 yards.
Silverado outgained the Panthers, 289-231, and had 53 offensive plays compared to Palo Verde’s 34.
The Skyhawks (1-3) got on the board late in the fourth quarter, as Jones-Sailor found Hunt for a 17-yard touchdown strike with 1:28 left.