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Rockets football strong-arms McComb, 42-14

By Matt M. Stutz

The Pandora-Gilboa High School football team sent shock waves throughout the Blanchard Valley Conference on Friday, September 16, when they traveled to Doc Miller Field in McComb and beat the #4 state ranked and previously undefeated Panthers. The surprise wasn’t that they won, but how they won; overwhelming McComb (4-1) by a final of 42-14.

P-G came into the match-up struggling to find their identity, due to turnovers and injuries this season. McComb jumped ahead early, 7-0, following a P-G interception and the Rocket faithful getting that feeling of “here we go again.”  

But whatever the coaching staff said or did from then on, worked. Behind a stout defense and sophomore quarterback Cory Gerten’s right arm, P-G turned the game around and maybe their season, scoring twenty-one unanswered points to close out the half. 

Gerten tossed three touchdown passes, first connecting with receiver Brock Stall for a 21-yard touchdown pass and catch to tie things up seven. P-G then went ahead 14-7 with 1:11 left in the first quarter as Gerten and Stall connected a second time, this time from 27 yards out for the score.  Gerten then found receiver Chase Meyer open for a 34-yard grab late in the second quarter and a 21-7 halftime advantage.

The Panthers took the second half kickoff and pulled to within 21-14.  P-G immediately responded with a nice drive and score of their own, set up by a 41-yard pass play from Gerten to receiver Aidan Morris. Gerten then finished off the drive as he faked a QB sneak up the middle and tossed a jump pass to receiver Carson Meyer for the 11-yard score and 28-14 third quarter lead.

P-G running back Andrew Miller had a 4-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 35-14 with 10:02 left in the fourth quarter. The lead didn’t yet feel safe against McComb’s high powered offense until Miller then put the game away late with his second touchdown, a 3-yard run with 1:14 to play.

P-G Kicker Skyler Richardson was perfect kicking on the night connecting on all six of his extra-point kicks.

Gerten finished the night with 235 yards passing, while the P-G rushing attack led by Miller and Ben Burkholder accumulated 172 yards on the ground.  Enough can’t be said for the effort of the P-G defense as the vaulted McComb offense came into this contest averaging 54 points per game. 

Next up, the Rockets will return home on September 22 for a non-conference battle against Worthington Christian (2-3), the first ever match-up between the two schools.