By Bob Simmons
Fort Zumwalt North advanced to the state playoffs in football last fall and they look for another berth his year. They isplayed their talents Sept. 1, defeating Troy Buchanan 42-7.
The Panthers built up a 42-0 lead before Troy scored on a two-yard run by Alazae Walker with no time left in the third period. Dyland Sutton added the extra point.
The Panthers scored twice in the first period, one a 10-yard run by Cairo Payne and a two-yard run by Jaylen Vaughn. They led 21-0 at the half following a 76-yard run by Jack Ederer. Owen Sear added the extra points following each score.
They added three sores in the third period including a 90-yard kickoff return by Grant Latina to open the half.
“We knew it was going to be a tough matchup going in,” said Troy Coach Ryan Nesbitt. “I thought our kids really battled throughout the course of the game. We talked about having two, five-minute plus drives in the first half, reducing their offensive possessions to three, and finding one stop on defense. We ended up having a 16-play nine minute drive throughout the second quarter that we couldn’t convert into points. But, our defense got the stop we were looking for and got the ball back on the 44 with a chance to cut it to 14-7 at the half. We turned it over on offense, gave their offense a fourth possession and they capitalized.
“In the second half, two kicking game blunders to start and just like that it’s 28-0 and we have the ball on the four yard line. That was the ball game.”
Ederer rushed for 133 yards to lead the Panthers. Collin Nichols rushed for 66 yards to lead Troy with De’onte Sanders finishing with 52 yards. McKennon Starkey completed four of nine passes for 59 yaards. Defensively, Isiash Massey and Nichols had a quarterback sack.
“Our kids are close to competing at that level but didn’t make enough plays to get it done against an outstanding football team,” said Nesbitt. “We will keep improving and know that there are still winnable ball games to come. “