September 20, 2002 11:00 pm

By Pierre LaBossire

Observer Staff Writer

IMBLER — The Imbler football Panthers pitched their second straight impressive shutout Friday for a league-opening win over a young Union squad.

The Panthers won 47-0 behind three touchdowns and 164 yards rushing by Josh Bartell. Steven Skillings ran for 89 yards and scored a touchdown, while Travis Hoskins scored a TD on a 58-yard pass from Trevor Crow on the opening play of the game.

Imbler is 3-0 overall and is headed for a showdown next week with the consensus power of the Wapiti League, Grant Union. The Prospectors are also undefeated.

Imbler has managed to roll so far this season despite only having 16 or 17 healthy players the past two games.

Imbler coach Lee Lowe said the Panthers are heading into the most important part of their season, and must stay healthy because the squad is so thin.

The Panthers have outscored their opponents 120-14 so far this season, but the Prospectors will probably be their toughest test all season.

"We've got the big boys next week. We're going to have our hands full," said Lowe.

Lowe also said Union will get better.

"They're just awful young and inexperienced. We've all been there," he said.

Union 0 0 0 0 — 0

Imbler 27 10 7 3 — 47

Imbler — Travis Hoskins 58 pass from Crow. (Johnson kick)

Imbler — Crow 1 run (kick failed)

Imbler — Bartell 56 run (Zack Myers pass from Troy Hoskins)

Imbler — Skillings 27 run (kick failed)

Imbler — Johnson 18 field goal

Imbler — Bartell 7 run (Johnson kick)

Imbler — Bartell 30 run (Johnson kick)

Imbler — Johnson 23 field goal

Individual statistics

RUSHING — Union, Kirby 14-15, Blair 1-3, Thurston 1-2, McReynolds 4-(minus 1), Towne 1-(minus 7), Williams 1-(minus 12). Imbler, Bartell 17-164, Skillings 6-89, Wyatt 13-66, Crow 2-1.

PASSING — Union, McReynolds 1-4-(minus 8). Imbler, Crow 1-3-58.

RECEIVING — Union, Towne 1-(minus 8). Imbler, Travis Hoskins 1-58.