Karr's Class 4A first-round playoff game Thursday against Buckeye was almost over as soon as it started.
The Cougars forced four fumbles in taking a 34-point first-quarter lead on their way to a 54-13 victory against the overmatched Panthers at Behrman Stadium.
“All week, we preached starting fast, and that's exactly what we did,” Cougars coach Brice Brown said. “Hats off to Torrace Howard, our defensive coordinator, and his staff. The defense played lights-out. And our quarterback (Skyler Perry) is getting better, as well as our receivers, who as a group are new starters.”
No. 1-seeded Karr (10-1), the reigning 4A state champion, advanced to the second round against the winner of Friday's game between No. 16 Carver and No. 17 Bastrop. If Bastrop wins, the Cougars will play on the road.
Karr defeated District 9-4A rival Carver 35-6 earlier this season.
No. 32 Buckeye, of District 3-4A, ended the season with a 5-6 record.
The end came quickly. Karr's defensive line of Terrance Charles, Jamier Jackson, Ronell Burback and Austin Kent not only shut down the line of scrimmage from the start but ripped the ball from Panthers ball carriers. And after each fumble, Perry either threw a touchdown pass or ran for one. Karr led 34-0 at the end of the first quarter.
One play into the second quarter, Panthers quarterback Tory Carman fumbled at the Buckeye 34, and Burbank recovered. On Karr's first play, Perry passed 34 yards to Michael Corner for the touchdown.
On Buckeyes' next possession, the Panthers went for the first down on fourth-and-3, and fullback Justin Belgard was stopped for no gain. Perry then dropped back and hooked up with Anthony Spurlock for the score.
On the first play after the ensuing kickoff, Belgard fumbled, and it was returned defensive tackle Corey Boudreaux returned the ball to the 6. Perry passed to Jahi Howard for the touchdown, and it was 21-0 at 5:36 of the first.
Two plays into the Panthers' next possession, the ball was ripped from Carman, and cornerback Devin Bush recovered. Perry then kept around right tackle for a 22-yard touchdown.
His final touchdown pass went to Corner on a bubble screen for 34 yards with 1:37 left in the first quarter.
“We knew coming in here it was going to be a tall task,” Landry said. “Karr is an extremely good team, extremely talented, well-coached. Turnovers definitely didn't help us in the first quarter.
“We knew we couldn't sit back and cover their receivers. We sold out to stop the run and tried to pressure the quarterback as much as possible. They took advantage of some matchups and hit some big passes on us. Their speed was definitely a problem.”
With the score 47-0 and 1:12 left in the first half, Buckeye running back Drew Worthy broke off a 66-yard touchdown run. The Panthers' other score came on a 3-yard run by Carman at 10:55 of the fourth.