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Panthers shoot down Eagles
IMBLER —The Imbler Panthers rolled through another opponent Friday, blowing past Joseph 74-0 to improve to 6-0 this season.
“The kids came out and executed pretty well, did things right and got up in a hurry,” coach Lee Lowe said.
Jaden Bales got the Panthers going by returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown.
After Joseph turned the ball over on downs, quarterback Kyle Johnson connected with Bales on a 20-yard touchdown pass, and not even three minutes into the game the Panthers led 16-0.
A 17-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Bigej later in the first quarter stretched the lead to 24-0 and Imbler was well in control.
“We just wanted to come out and execute and not get sloppy,” Lowe said.
The Panthers made it a 62-0 lead after a 38-point second quarter.
Lowe used a number of underclassmen in the second half and Imbler scored a touchdown in each of the third and fourth quarters.
Gary Combe was the Panthers’ leading rusher with 100 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries.
Bales had 57 yards rushing on four carries, along with two catches for 39 yards.
Joe Griffin had 47 yards on six attemps with a pair of scores. He also had 47 yards receiving on two grabs.
Johnson completed seven of nine passes for 116 yards and five touchdowns. Trace Van VanCleave completed both of his pass attempts for 33 yards and a score.
The Panthers’ defense held Joseph to negative 56 yards rushing on 45 attempts and had 23 tackles for loss.
The Eagles completed one of 11 passes for 20 yards.
“You really just work on doing things right,” Lowe said of playing against a struggling team like Joseph.
“If you’re going to work on something, work on something that is going to make you better for next week. They’re (Joseph) young, and there’s some growing pains that you have to go through.
“That’s just part of it. We’ve been there and done that.”
The Panthers entered the game ranked No. 2 in the OSAA 1A poll.
After the win, Imbler dropped to No. 4 in the poll, getting leapfrogged by St. Paul and Lowell, while Sherman remained ahead of the Panthers.
Joseph is now 0-4 this season and 0-3 in league.
The Eagles will play at Pine Eagle Friday.
Imbler will travel to face Cove. The Leopards fell to Powder Valley this weekend, putting Cove and the Badgers in a tie for second place in league.
“Whatever their (Cove) record, whatever our record, it doesn’t make any difference in that game,” Lowe said of the upcoming showdown.