Pennfield’s DaWan Smith scored three touchdowns in the first half of a 47-14 victory for the Panthers over Kalamazoo Christian on Friday night.
A week after narrowly escaping with a win against Olivet Pennfield found itself in a much more comfortable situation in this week’s Kalamazoo Valley Association matchup.
“We were worried about tonight because we’re beat up a little bit after two tough weeks,” said Pennfield head coach Nick Koenigsknecht. “So it was really nice to see us come out and take control of the game – control it throughout the night.”
Branden Rugg caught a 54-yard touchdown pass on the first drive of the game, getting Pennfield off to an early 7-0 lead.
Late in the opening quarter, Smith scampered 14 yards on a fourth down play to increase the Panthers’ advantage.
Smith displayed a spin move and broke a handful of tackles on his second touchdown run, this time for 25-yards.
On the ensuing kickoff, Pennfield’s Ryan Ferguson recovered a ball that was mishandled by the Comets’ return team.
Just two plays and 13 seconds later, Smith caught a 38-yard touchdown pass from QB Jake Grimes, giving the Panthers a 27-0 advantage.
With six minutes remaining in the first half, Kalamazoo Christian scored its first points of the contest on a 27-yard pass from QB Brennan Heidema to Clayton Meldrum to make it 27-6 at halftime.
Nick Burnett and Connor Clark added to the scoring for the Panthers in the third quarter with 11- and 12-yard runs, respectively, inflating their lead to 40-6.
Each team found the endzone in the final quarter of play. Pennfield scored on a 46-yard run by Rugg. Then Kalamazoo Christian’s Teddy Woznicki caught a 31-yard touchdown pass, which gave the game its 47-14 final score.
The Panthers handed the ball off to 11 different rushers in the contest. Rugg led the game in both rushing and receiving, gaining 63 yard on the ground and 64 yards through the air.
Smith finished second in both categories for the Panthers, tallying 62 yards rushing and 37 yards receiving.
Pennfield’s Derek Lipps led the Panthers with eight tackles.
Jacob DeDoes tallied 16 tackles on the night for the Comets.
Next week’s game against Constantine marks Pennfield’s final game in the KVA. A win would guarantee the Panthers at least a share of the league title.
“It’s gonna be awfully tough going down there (to Constantine),” said Koenigsknecht. “But if we get ’em, we’ll have at least a share of the KVA championship, which was one of our goals as we left the league this year.”