PALMER — There was one question lingering in the mind of Panther Head Coach Tal Sanders entering Friday's matchup with Palmer High School on the road at Bulldog Stadium: How does a 0-2 district team get back on track?
"We had six interceptions and our defense played an excellent game," Sanders said about Maypearl High School's 42-7 win. "If a team can get a turnover ratio like that, you probably should win most of the time. It's one of the major reasons for winning football games on any level. If you get more than they do, you have a really good chance at winning."
In addition to the six turnovers by Lonnie Brooks (2), Taylor Mease (1), Tyreke Massey (1), Chase Reeher (1) and Tyler Provins (1), the Panthers had four players with six or more tackles. While Brooks led the team with eight, Provins (6.5), Jagger Dixon (6.5) and Santana Carrizales (6.0) combined for 19 of Maypearl's 55.5 total tackles.
Though his answer came in the form of a stifling Panther defense, the return of Gunner Petty, who was out three games because of an injury, didn't hurt, either.
In his first game since Sept. 9, Petty finished the game 9-for-14 passing for 169 yards, two touchdowns to Provins (2 rec, 47 yds) and Cole Maxwell (3 rec, 45 yds) and one interception. He also rushed 13 times for 110 yards and one touchdown.
"[Jagger] is one of the leaders of the team and the players believe in him," Sanders said. "Jagger's really our starting tailback. He runs the ball well and having him in the backfield makes us a more potent, dangerous team and more of a double threat."
In his return to his regular position, Dixon had 133 yards and a touchdown on only eight rushes. His 16.6 yards per carry average led all players Friday.
"It's going to help us tremendously to have a healthier team," he continued. "Our opponents are going to start getting tougher, but with everybody going we're going to be a pretty tough team ourselves. We just have to focus on playing hard and each game week by week."
The (4-3 overall, 1-3 in District 6-3A-1) Panthers are scheduled to play Scurry-Rosser High School at 7:30 p.m Friday at W.G. Roesler Stadium. The Wildcats, which are 0-6 overall, have lost each game by an average margin of 30.7 points and have allowed at least 50 points in four of the six games.