The Salina South Cougars traveled to Panther Stadium in hopes of upsetting one of the top teams in Class 6A, the Derby Panthers. With both teams decimated by injuries, anything was possible. However, the Panthers backfield combination proved to be too powerful en route to a 59-14 win.
The Cougars had 4 defensive starters sidelined due to injury, and it showed, as Derby racked up 487 yards of total offense. Derby quarterback Hunter Igo accounted for 5 touchdowns, but it didn’t start pretty. He threw an interception on his second pass of the game at the South 10 yard line. After the Kyle Quill pick, the South offense whistled a bad snap past quarterback Casey Lanoue for a safety. Derby led 2-0 with 9:55 left in the 1st quarter.
On the ensuing drive, Derby’s star running back Brody Kooser scored on a 16 yard run to make it 9-0 Derby with 8:06 to go in the 1st. From there, the Panthers never looked back. Igo found pay dirt on back to back drives to push Derby’s lead to 23-0 with 11:08 to go in the 2nd period.
Another errant snap, this time on a punt, led to another Derby safety with 9:34 to go in the 2nd. Igo would then connect with Jack Taylor in the middle of the end zone on a 5-yard touchdown with 8:00 left in the 2nd to make it 32-0 Derby. On the next Panthers drive, Igo hit Michael Littlejohn for a 43 yard score as Derby pushed their lead to 39-0 with 6:28 left in the 2nd. One more Igo touchdown toss right before the half made it 46-0 Derby at intermission.
In the second half, the Cougars got on the board quickly. Lanoue broke free around the right side for an 80 yard touchdown run on the first play of the 3rd quarter. It was 46-7 Derby with 11:01 to go in the 3rd. South would find the end zone one more time on a 37 yard run by fullback Payton Webb, his 3rd rushing touchdown of the season. That score came with 1:40 remaining in the 3rd.
South accounted for 278 yards of total offense, with 256 of that on the ground. Lanoue finished with a team high 126 yards on 14 carries. Meanwhile, Tanner Parret piled up 82 hard-earned yards on 19 attempts.
South returns to Salina next Friday for the Saline County Showdown against Salina Central. Kickoff is slated for 7pm.
By James Westling