The Salina South Cougars entered their homecoming week with momentum after capturing their first win of the season over Campus last weekend. Their reward? A date with the top-ranked team in 6A, the Derby Panthers.
South won the toss and elected to defer. Derby took the ball to begin and they only needed 39 seconds to score. Running back Tre Washington eluded defenders on his way to a 25-yard touchdown run and a 7-0 Panther lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, South’s Brandt Cox set up the Cougars near midfield. They quickly marched into the red-zone. But at the Derby 16, Cox took a direct snap and was immediately hit hard. The ball was jarred loose and the Panthers recovered. It would be as close to scoring as South would get in the first half.
Derby quarterback Grant Adler then took over as he and Washington punished the Cougar defense with a steady diet of read-option runs. Adler would score from three yards out with 7:16 remaining in the first quarter and Derby led 14-0.
The Panther defense stymied anything and everything the Cougars tried, getting the ball back to that vaunted backfield. Derby fumbled the ball away on back-to-back possessions but they would get back to finishing drives in the second quarter. Adler tallied two more TD runs of five and three yards respectively and the Panthers took a 27-0 lead into halftime. At the midway point, Derby had accumulated 303 rushing yards.
In the third quarter, touchdown runs from Washington and Adler increased the Panther lead to 41-0. Then the South Cougars were able to mount a drive. Quarterback Terran Galloway repeatedly found his favorite target, wideout Ty Garrett, who made a pair of outstanding catches near the sidelines before capping the drive with a 10-yard touchdown catch which trimmed the deficit to 41-7 with 1:28 left in the third quarter.
Derby would answer immediately, 43 seconds later to be exact, as Washington found paydirt yet again to make it 48-7 after three quarters.
The Panthers struck for one more score with 6:49 left, a three-yard TD run by backup QB Lem Wash and the contest finished at 55-7 in favor of Derby.
The combination of Adler and Washington was lethal. Each carried the ball 20 times. Adler finished with 208 yards and four touchdowns. Washington had 179 yards and three touchdowns.
In total the Panthers (5-0) rushed for 497 yards, and out-gained the Cougars 550-180 with nearly all of South’s production coming through the air.
It doesn’t get much easier next week for the Cougars (1-4) as they will travel to play at Maize.