PAXTON — The Paxton-Buckley-Loda varsity football team dominated the first quarter, taking a 24-0 lead en route to a 52-12 victory over Georgetown-Ridge Farm on Friday.
“We talked all week about how we had to get to a fast start," PBL head coach Josh Pritchard said.
After G-RF's Gavan Shelton ran for a yard on the first play from scrimmage, he was tackled by Keegan Marty for a loss of three yards on second down.
After Chaze Rowell scampered for three yards on third-and-12, Draven Scroggins blocked a punt for PBL on fourth down, giving his team the ball on the Buffaloes' 20-yard line.
On the Panthers' first offensive play from scrimmage, quarterback Gunner Belt found Drake Schrodt for a 20-yard go-ahead touchdown pass with 9:46 left in the first quarter. Hunter Anderson ran toward the left side for two points on PBL's ensuing conversion attempt.
Schrodt scored again on a 10-yard run with 6:24 remaining in the opening quarter.
After the Belt-to-Schrodt scoring connection, Scroggins tackled Rowell on the first play of G-RF's ensuing possession. The Buffaloes punted to PBL's 48-yard line after a couple of dropped passes.
The Panthers (1-1) then set up Schrodt's scoring run via a six-play drive.
Schrodt ran for 18 yards on a sweep to the left side. After Anderson ran for eight yards, Belt ran for a first down two plays later, putting the ball on the Buffaloes' 18-yard line.
Colton Coy caught a pass for eight yards prior to Schrodt's touchdown run.
After the score, Coy caught another pass and scored on PBL's two-point conversion attempt to extend the Panthers' lead to 16-0.
“We’ve got a much older team than we do. They’re younger, but that G-RF team is going to be good in a couple of years. They just have to get that youth back up there like they did last year," Pritchard said. "We told our kids we have to come out and play fast, play aggressive and be the team that we feel like we should be, and our kids took that (advice) all week and showed up on Friday night to do that.”
For the third straight possession, G-RF went three-and-out as Shelton ran for a 1-yard gain on first down. The Buffaloes were called for a false-start penalty before Shelton was tackled for a loss of two yards on second down.
On third-and-16, Jace Bina caught a pass for eight yards before G-RF (0-2) punted to the PBL 33-yard line.
Drew Diesburg caught a pass from Belt for a 9-yard score with less than a second left in the first quarter to cap an eight-play, 67-yard drive.
After Diesburg caught a pass for two yards and Anderson ran for seven yards, Belt scampered for a first down to the Panthers' 46-yard line.
Zac Jayne ran for three yards before Coy caught a pass for a 30-yard gain to move the ball to the G-RF 21-yard line.
Alex Plott ran for a yard on first down before Belt scampered to the 9-yard line on second down prior to Diesburg's scoring catch, which was the second of three touchdown passes thrown by Belt on Friday. A Belt-to-Jarred Gronsky connection on a two-point conversion attempt extended PBL's lead to 24-0.
“Gunner had a really good game," Schrodt said. "He was throwing the ball all over the place and he was running. He was basically doing everything for us today. He had a really good game.”
An 18-yard pass from Logan Dawson to Trayvion Brown and a 36-yard connection from Dawson to Marc Oaties led to a 1-yard touchdown by Gavan Shelton.
That was the only offensive touchdown scored by G-RF all game.
“Our defense really flew around. They played downhill. We stuffed the run. We had a hiccup at the beginning of the second quarter that we have to fix. We can’t be giving up stuff like that, but it’s only the second week," Pritchard said. "We hope we’re only going to get better.”
Anderson ran for 20 yards on the first play of PBL's ensuing drive before Belt ran for 15 yards to G-RF's 33-yard line. Two plays later, Schrodt ran for a first down to the Buffaloes' 22-yard line.
After four incomplete passes, however, the Panthers turned the ball over on downs. On a third-and-1 three plays later, a 46-yard interception return by Gronsky extended the Panthers' lead to 30-6.
“We scored through the air and on the ground and actually had a defensive touchdown, so we did a little bit of everything, and I know our kids were really happy tonight," Pritchard said.
The Buffaloes went three-and-out on the final possession of the first half as Shelton and Rowell ran for a combined for five yards before Rowell caught a pass short of the first-down marker on third down.
In the second half, Belt found Schrodt again for a 28-yard touchdown on a second-and-1 to extend PBL's lead to 38-6 after Anderson ran for a successful two-point conversion with 10:20 left in the third quarter.
It was Schrodt's third touchdown of the day as PBL rebounded from a week-one loss to state-ranked Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley.
“It’s a really good feeling, but we can’t stop now. We just have to keep pushing," Schrodt said. “We had to bounce back from the GCMS game. They were a pretty tough team. We just came out and fired out today, and we just played better than team today.”
G-RF's Jace Bina scored on a 73-yard kickoff return to cut the Buffaloes' deficit to 38-12.
“Obviously, we still have a few mistakes we’ve got to pick up on," Pritchard said. "We can’t give away a special teams touchdown.”
On PBL's ensuing possession, Hunter Anderson scored on a 36-yard run. Schrodt then ran for another successful two-point conversion to make the score 46-12.
“We want to spread the ball around," Pritchard said. "We don’t want you to be able to key on one kid. We have five or six different kids carrying the football. Three or four different kids are catching passes. If we can spread the ball around, it’s harder for a defense to take away one thing.”
Following a fumble recovery, Belt scored on a 14-yard run with 4:59 left in the third quarter to force a running clock via the Panthers' 52-12 lead. It was the second turnover forced by PBL's defense in the third quarter as Diesburg recorded an interception earlier in the quarter.
PBL 52, Georgetown-Ridge Farm 12
GRF 0 6 6 0 -- 12
PBL 24 6 22 0 -- 52
P -- Schrodt 20 pass from Belt (Anderson run)
P -- Schrodt 10 run (Coy pass from Belt)
P -- Diesburg 9 pass from Belt (Gronsky pass from Belt)
G -- Shelton 1 run (pass failed)
P -- Gronsky 46 interception return (run failed)
P -- Schrodt 28 pass from Belt (Anderson run
G -- Bina 73 kickoff return (pass failed)
P -- Anderson 36 run (Schrodt run)
P -- Belt 14 run (pass failed)