Big plays came early and often for Glen Oaks as the Panthers defeated the Northeast Vikings 22-8 on Friday at Olympia Stadium’s Coca-Cola Kickoff Classic.
Running back Johnta’ Herbert posted 177 all-purpose yards - including an 88-yard touchdown on the opening kickoff - while quarterback Zachary Gistarb completed passes of 33 and 52 yards and running back Stephen Smith finished with 116 total yards.
“Johnta’ knows the weight’s on his shoulders and he’s accepted the challenge,” said Glen Oaks coach Landry Williams.
The Panthers only needed three plays to score on their opening possession of the second half. Gistarb passed to Smith for a 52-yard gain and Herbert broke loose for a 21-yard run before Gistarb found Corey Washington on a screen pass for a 14-yard touchdown.
After Northeast’s opening possession went three-and-out, Herbert found a crease down the middle of the field and returned a punt 46 yards to the Vikings 25-yard line.
“We’ve really concentrated on special teams because that’s been a weak area, and guys were able to come in make some big plays for us,” Williams said.
But Glen Oaks couldn’t convert the big play into points after Gistarb failed to connect with receiver Godfrey Wheeler on fourth-and-9.
Northeast responded with three first downs on the ensuing drive to cross into Panthers territory. Then Vikings quarterback Ronnie Davis fielded a high snap on third-and-long and scrambled away from pressure for a 44-yard touchdown.
The Vikings pinned themselves inside their own 5-yard line on the next possession after a holding penalty before a third-and-long snap sailed over Davis’ head. Panthers defensive end Dennis
Craig recovered the loose ball in the end zone to make the score 12-8 with 30 seconds remaining in the first half.
Glen Oaks linebacker Gabe Havies tackled Turner in the endzone for a safety with one minute remaining in the game.
TARA 7, MCKINLEY 0: Tara wide receiver Aaron Wright overcame early fumble troubles to lead the Trojans with five catches and 46 yards as Tara defeated McKinley.
Trojans quarterback John Washington hooked up with Wright for the game’s only score on the final play of the first half, 21-yard touchdown strike over the middle of the field.
“We’re not as consistent as we’d like to be yet, but it’s going to come,” said Tara coach Ron LeJeune.
Washington completed 10 of 16 passes for 59 yards and running back Josh Blanks carried eight times for 63 yards. Wright also added 38 yards on the ground.
“He’s such a threat both running and catching the ball,” LeJeune said of Wright.
Panthers running backs Lenard Tillery and Phil Randall - who ran for 31 and 40 yards respectively - combined for 56 yards on the opening drive to put the Panthers in scoring position. But Tara defensive end Lionel Russell tackled Randall for a 6-yard loss before a holding penalty stalled the drive.
Wright lost a fumble on the Tara’s opening drive, but a McKinley personal foul gave the Trojans new life.
Tara drove all the way to the McKinley 25-yard line before failing to convert on fourth-and-12.
A McKinley three-and-out gave the Trojans possession at midfield. Washington found Wright for an 8-yard pass then Blanks broke loose for a 21-yard run to set up Wright’s 21-yard touchdown reception.