Panthers shake off ragged start, finish strong in final pre-season scrimmage

Navarro quarterback Ryan Young outraces a Devine safety to the sideline en route to 70-yard touchdown run during Thursday’s scrimmage at Erwin-Lee Field.


(Geronimo) – The Navarro High School football team used a combination of big plays on offense and a suffocating defensive effort to outscore Devine five touchdowns to one during the final pre-season scrimmage Thursday night at Erwin-Lee Field. 

The quest for steady improvement has been a constant theme for eighth-year Navarro head coach Les Goad during August workouts as the 2014 regular season rapidly approaches, and that’s exactly what the Panthers’ offense displayed as the evening progressed against the visiting Warhorses.

During the controlled portion of the scrimmage, Navarro quarterback Ryan Young brought the fans to their feet with a 70-yard touchdown run, but the other seven possessions resulted in two fumbles, three three-and-outs, a stalled drive after one first down, and an incomplete pass before the offense reached the play limit. 

The Panthers executed much more efficiently during the 12-minute time period, producing touchdowns on all three possessions. 

Devine opened the stanza with its only touchdown of the night.  The Warhorses converted a third-and-13 from their own 27 with a 56-yard pass completion, and eventually produced a 15-yard TD run with 10:03 left in the period.

Tanner Law sparked Navarro’s first possession of the timed quarter with a 47-yard run to the six-yard line, and Anthony Grant capped the drive two plays later with a two-yard plunge over the goal line. 

Grant recovered a Devine fumble on the next Warhorse possession, and the Panthers took over at the opponent’s 30.  Jared Leal capitalized on the turnover with a 12-yard rushing touchdown, and Jake Wright tacked on the two-point conversion run. 

Devine picked up the pace on the next drive, punching out four first downs on a march to Navarro’s 25.  The Panther defense stiffened up with tackles for loss on the next two plays, and on third-and-17, Young broke up a pass in the end zone.  Devine’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete, and Navarro took over with just 30 seconds left in the period. 

After a three-yard run on first down, with the final seconds ticking away, Law exploded through the Devine secondary and down the right sideline for a 65-yard touchdown run as time expired to end the period. 

The teams concluded the scrimmage with a simulated overtime period, each starting a drive at the other’s 25-yard line.  Navarro’s defense held Devine without a first down, and the offense punched it in with a 15-yard rushing touchdown by Law, which Leal followed with a two-point conversion run. 

Goad credited his offense for tightening up its ball security and execution against a solid Devine defense as the scrimmage moved along. 

“We were just taking care of that ball, and Devine’s always proved to be fast and physical, and that’s the kind of scrimmage we need right now, so the name of the game right now is to keep improving, and I think we did throughout the course of the scrimmage, and felt better about it when it was all over.” 

On the night, the Navarro defense forced two fumbles and allowed just one touchdown in 11 possessions.  Devine has traditionally been a power running team, but has gone to a shotgun spread look this season.  Goad says facing the revamped Warhorse attack was beneficial, given the long list of teams who play that style on the Panthers’ regular season schedule.

“It was good for our secondary and linebacking corps to be tested with that spread look, and out in the open field.  I think we took some steps tonight toward the physicality that we’ve got to play with.  We’re going to have to become a little more multiple, but it was good to see that we got better at what we were trying to do.”

Navarro opens the regular season this Friday with a home game against Medina Valley.  Kickoff at Erwin-Lee Field is slated for 7;30 p.m. 

Seguin, Navarro ISD, Panther football


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