Any coach will tell you that football is a game of adjustments, and after Kalamazoo Christian (3-5) marched easily downfield for a touchdown on its opening drive during Friday night’s Kalamazoo Valley Association tilt with Pennfield, the Panthers knew that some adjustments had to be made.
After giving up 58 first-quarter rushing yards, Pennfield buckled down, holding the Comets to 68 yards on the ground the rest of the way for a 40-28 victory. The win takes Pennfield to 7-1 overall, keeping the Panthers within one game of first place in the league. The Panthers finish the season against state-ranked Constantine next Friday.
“They came out and boy you have to give them a lot of credit. Their season hasn’t gone the way they wanted but they came out and got after us there on that first drive and we did make the adjustments in the first half but we gave up way too many big plays,” Pennfield head coach Nick Koenigsknecht said.
The majority of the game was dominated by a Pennfield rushing attack that featured three backs, all of whom tallied at least eight carries.
Pennfield senior Jeremy Purcell led all rushers with 14 attempts tallying 116 yards including a five-yard touchdown run.
“We’ve been executing well all year, our backs have done a great job but our offensive line is really executing and blocking the correct people. We were prepared to throw the ball, but we really didn’t have to,” Koenigsknecht said.
Panther senior Dominic Arredondo had the game’s most electrifying play when on the Panthers’ opening down, the senior ran towards left tackle and ripped off a 75 -rd scoring strike to knot the game at 7-7.
The speedster also broke off a 38-yarder early in the second half, setting up Purcell’s second touchdown of the contest, a 7-yarder around the left end.
But the fullback added the cherry on top when he put on a nifty spin move later in the quarter breaking away from a Comet defender that had him all but wrapped up. He ended with a game high 221 yards on only 12 carries, a rate of 17.9 yards per rush.
“He’s just doing what our fullbacks should do there, he’s hard to find,” Koenigsknecht said. “We’ve been executing well all year, our backs have done a great job but our offensive line is really executing and blocking the correct people. We were prepared to throw the ball, but we really didn’t have to.”
Panther defenders came up big as well recording two sacks, one by Zachery Geno and the other by Derek Lipps while Travis Hartung picked off a second quarter pass, returning it 20 yards for a touchdown.