ROCKVILLE- The Paint Branch Panthers dominated the Richard Montgomery Rockets 21-9 Friday night. The Panthers now ride a two-game unbeaten streak as they handed the Rockets their first loss of the season.
The Rockets put up a good defensive showing, but could not keep up the pressure in the second half.
“Leaving a very good team and a very well-coached team like RM in the game, and you have scoring opportunities, was a mistake, cause I knew they would make us pay for it,” said Panthers head coach Mike Nesmith.
The Panthers indeed had many opportunities to score and turned over the ball on downs due to pressure from the Rockets.
The Rockets were in trouble as they struggled for their nine points and lost possession in crucial moments of the game.
“The big thing for us, preparation-wise, was being able to account for all their weapons and be physical,” said Rockets head coach Josh Klotz.
Scoring started in the first quarter for both teams, when senior wide receiver Daryn Alexander scored for the Rockets, and senior running back Justin Hockaday scored off of a kick return for his first of two touchdowns.
Hockaday was a main target in the Panthers’ offense, providing ample opportunities for carries throughout the game.
The second touchdown for the Panthers came off of a carry by junior quarterback Norman Douglas in the second quarter, after struggling to get the one yard needed for the touchdown for four downs.
A stiff defense was the main strength of the Rockets, and the ability to keep the Panthers at bay with incomplete passes and pressure on fourth downs was invaluable for a team that had trouble scoring.
The defense pulled through in the second half, pushing through for a safety and scoring the last two points of the game for the Rockets.
The Panthers were not done yet, however, and Hockaday scored one last touchdown in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter on a 22-yard carry, his second of the night.
Hockaday attributes his performance in this game to practice, and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
“You got to win the week to be able to win on Friday,” said Hockaday.