With the offense struggling, Jameson Moore picked up his teammates by putting down East defenders.
Moore, Derby’s senior running back, showcased his power Friday night by bowling over would-be tacklers on the way to a four-touchdown performance. The Panthers defeated East 27-14, earning a Class 6A playoff berth.
The Panthers (6-2, 2-0 Class 6A-District 6) host Wichita Heights for the district championship next week.
With the passing game struggling, Moore established himself on Derby’s second offensive series. On third-and-three, Moore broke a 24-yard run after breaking two tackles at the line of scrimmage. That set up his first touchdown, tying the score 7-7. Moore finished with 88 yards on 19 carries.
“We like to pound the ball, that’s what we do,” Moore said. “My offensive line blocked great and so did the wide receivers.”
Moore put the Panthers ahead 14-7 with a 7-yard touchdown run just before halftime.
East (2-6, 0-2) kept the game close, but could not overcome its own miscues. The Blue Aces started the second half driving to the Derby 14, but a Jameal Farrison fumble ended the scoring opportunity.
Derby responded a series later with Moore’s third touchdown. After its offense stalled, East still had a chance, but needed a defensive stop. However, East kept Derby’s fourth scoring drive alive with a personal foul and three consecutive encroachment penalties.
“We’ve let a lot of games get away from us this year,” East coach Brian Byers said. “It’s frustrating.
“We just got too far down. If we hadn’t had those mistakes, that would have made a big difference.”
Derby (6-2, 2-0) 0 14 6 7 — 27
East (2-6, 0-2) 7 0 0 7 — 14
E—Reed 2 run (O’Quinn kick)
D—Moore 3 run (Young kick)
D—Moore 7 run (Young kick)
D— Moore 2 run (kick blocked)
D—Moore 6 run (Young Kick)
E—Heiman 1 run (O’Quinn kick)
Rushing—Derby, Moore 19-88, Oaks 3-25, Harrison 8-6, Hedgepeth 2-3. East, Graham 20-80, Reed 17-56, Heiman 7-7, Dukes 1-2.
Passing—Derby, Harrison 6-15-108. East, Heiman 5-9-96-1.
Receiving—Derby, Hedgepeth 3-87, Sparks 1-8, Reese 1-7, Oaks 1-6. East, Farrison 4-94, Dukes 1-6.