Aransas Pass came out fast, building a 14-0 first quarter lead in route to a convincing 42-19 road win against the Bishop Badgers last Friday.
The Panther defense introduced itself on the Badger’s first possession. On second-and-12 from the Bishop 26, safety Aaron Jongema came in from behind the quarterback to throw him for a yard loss. After an incomplete pass on third-and-18, Codey Millican led a fierce rush to force a short 19-yard punt to set AP up at the Badger 39.
A quick hitter in the middle of the line by fullback Matt Johnson on first down resulted in a 39-yard touchdown run and the Panthers took an early 6-0 lead.
On the ensuing Badger possession, Millican jarred the ball loose from the running back and Andrew Nicolau recovered the fumble for the Panthers at the Badger 38.
On first down, quarterback Erik Johnson found running back Victor Gonzalez, who had lined up in the slot, open down the left side for a 37-yard gain to the 1-yard line. On the next play, Matt Johnson scored standing up and William Butler carried the 2-point conversion in to give the Panthers a fast 14-0 lead.
Bishop was finally able to mount a drive on their third possession, reaching the Aransas Pass 5-yard line before the Panther defense stiffened to snuff it out and turn the ball back over to the offense.
A gain of 26 by Gonzalez on first down moved the ball out the 31-yard line. On a fourth-and-4 from the Panther 37, AP lined up to put but instead snapped the ball to the blocking back, Jongema who made a determined run for a first down up to the 45.
On third-and-7 from the 48, E. Johnson found Junior Gonzalez on a quick pass to advance to the Badger 36 and then V. Gonzalez broke a run up the middle that went down to the 10-yard line.
A pass interference penalty against Bishop on fourth down gave the Panthers a new set of downs at the two. M. Johnson scored his third touchdown of the first half, but the extra point kick was wide left and AP led 20-0 early in the second quarter.
The Panther defense forced another punt and three players later M. Johnson broke off a 57-yard TD run to complete a 79-yard drive. Another 2-point run by Butler gave AP a 28-0 advantage.
Another defensive stand produced a Bishop punt, but a missed hand off between E. Johnson and Butler on first down AP gave the ball back to the Badgers at the Panther 36.
Nicolau created tackles for losses on first and third down to set up a fourth-and-21 at the AP 47-yard line. Millican rushed the quarterback on the fourth down play, throwing him for an 8-yard loss to end the first half.
Bishop’s defense stepped up its play to force a Panther punt on the opening drive of the second half and the Badgers drove 62 yards to get on the score board, trailing 28-7.
After the bishop kickoff, Aransas Pass drove 49 yards to the Bishop 18 where E. Johnson’s pass was picked off at the 13. The Panther defense held strong, and another short Badger punt set the Panthers up in Bishop territory at the 40-yard line.
M. Johnson finished off the drive, taking a hand off up the middle for the final 19 yards and Jose Trevino’s extra point was good and Aransas was on top 35-7 with 8:41 to play in the game.
Bishop took the ball 75 yards on its next possession, scoring on a 15-yard pass play but Nicolau blocked the extra point kick to leave the score 34-13.
The special teams for Aransas Pass again made something happen on the kickoff when Jongema raced through a small opening at the Panther 30 and then went the distance untouched for an 83-yard touchdown return and a 42-13.
Bishop drove downfield for a late touchdown to close out the scoring 42-19, but it was the Panther defense that set the tone of the game on the very first series. The defense made stops and created turnovers early and the offense took complete advantage scoring on long plays as well as long drives to completely dominate the Badgers.