It’s not very often that the Derby Panthers trail in a game, especially at home. Goddard took an early 6-0 lead on the Panthers on Friday, but the green magic worked from then on for Derby. The Panthers cruised to a 35-6 win in a game that was made final at halftime due to the severe weather.
“We had a meeting between myself, Coach (Brandon) Clark and the administrators,” Goddard coach Scott Vang said. “We decided that it wasn’t worth coming back and playing another half, we didn’t want anyone to get injured.”
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Derby’s first drive of the game ended in a Goddard interception by Cole Caraway. The Lions punched it into the end zone just a few plays later on a 5-yard run from Blake Sullivan.
“Goddard’s defense caused havoc early on us,” Derby coach Brandon Clark said. “They were getting to Dan (Dawdy) on almost every snap and were forcing him to get rid of the ball. He didn’t get this kind of pressure last week, so he had to make adjustments.”
Dawdy made a quick adjustment on the very next drive, throwing a lob in the corner of the end zone to his favorite target, Kenyon Tabor for a 20-yard touchdown completion. Dawdy found Tabor on the same exact route in the second quarter from 18 yards in the opposite end zone.
“I have faith in all of my receivers,” Dawdy said. “They’ve all got so much athleticism and I know that if I can get the ball within their reach they’ll come down with it more times than not.”
Derby got a big boost from running back Brody Kooser. Kooser had three rushes for 130 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown and a 55-yard touchdown.
“Brody has a lot of speed,” Clark said. “If we get good blocks on the line or the outside and Brody is running the ball, there’s a good chance that he’ll find the end zone.”
The Derby defense was strong all night, forcing three punts and two fourth-down stops. The Panthers held Goddard’s versatile quarterback Sullivan in check, as he rushed 13 times for 52 yards and the one touchdown. The edge rush forced Sullivan to throw the ball under pressure and forced four tipped balls at the line of scrimmage.
“Their quarterback is small and he has very quick speed,” Clark said, “so we had to use the strength and size of our defensive linemen to really step up and force him out of the pocket.”
Derby scored on five consecutive possessions.
“That’s one thing about our team,” Dawdy said. “We have a lot of playmakers, whether it be on the offensive or defensive side of the ball. Our special teams play is also really good, we know we have a lot to work on as the season goes on, but we’ve got a lot of positives looking up for us.”
G -- Sullivan 5 run (2pt pass failed)
D -- Tabor 20 pass from Dawdy (Espinosa kick)
D -- Dawdy 24 run (Espinosa kick)
D -- Kooser 71 run (kick blocked)
D -- Tabor 18 pass from Dawdy (Kooser 2pt pass from Dawdy)
D -- Kooser 55 run (Espinosa kick)
Rushing: Goddard, Sullivan 13-52, Gonzalez 8-37, Driskill 3-7, Cooke 1-0. Derby, Dawdy 11-54, Kooser 3-130.
Passing: Goddard, Sullivan 1-11-4-0, Vang 1-1-47-0. Derby, Dawdy 7-13-96-1.
Receiving: Goddard, Cooke 1-47, Johnson 1-4. Derby, Tabor 3-54, Leon 2-25, Jones 2-11, Lemons 1-6.