WENATCHEE — For the Wenatchee High School Panthers, a loss by the score of 41-20 isn’t reflective of a game that was tied in the second half.
The panthers, 1-5 on the season, faced off against the Union High School Titans, who entered the game with a 5-2 record.
“I’m very proud of our effort tonight, that’s the best opponent we played all year,” said head coach Scott Devereaux. “I thought we answered the bell pretty well.”
Tobias Harris, a four-star wide receiver recruit and a Notre Dame commit, missed the game for the Titans after an injury.
For the Panthers, this week was the first with a full week of practice since a COVID outbreak resulted in the cancelation of their Oct. 8 game.
Union got on the board first, aided by two successful fourth down conversions by the Union offense to make it a 6-0 game.
The Titans pounced on a bad snap by the Panthers, scoring within 30 seconds of the start of the second quarter to take a 13-0.
Camden Loidhamer, typically a tight end, worked out of the backfield due to injuries. Loidhamer powered through defenders throughout the night, rushing the ball in with 6:15 to go in the half, cutting the deficit to 13-7.
“I thought he stepped up big. He ran hard, made guys miss. For a guy that doesn’t get a lot of reps at running back, I think he’ll just get better as we go,” Devereaux said. “Plus, he played his a-- off on defense too.”
Devereaux said Loidhamer will play as a running back for the remainder of the season.
The Panther's good times didn’t last for long, as Jayden Jones of Union returned the Panther's kickoff over 90 yards for a touchdown, pushing the score to 20-7.
With the ball and 4:23 left in the first half, the Panthers once again rode Loidhamer down the field. Aiden Babst capped off the drive with a touchdown reception, cutting the lead to 20-14 with 1:25 left in the half.
The Panther’s defense bent but didn’t break to start the second half. While Union marched down the field with their first possession, a field goal attempt from the 31-yard line ultimately fell short.
Wenatchee’s offense struck immediately afterward, as Johnny Amezcua ran a short screen pass for a touchdown, juking several Union defenders along the way. A missed extra point kept the score even and kept the Panthers from their first lead.
For the Panthers, the 20-20 score was as close to a lead as they came during the game.
Jones responded immediately with a touchdown reception of his own and Union took a 27-20 midway through the third, a score which held for the remainder of the quarter.
Taylor Lepak tacked on a touchdown with 11:12 left in the fourth quarter, increasing the Titan’s lead to 34-20.
Union capped off the game with a touchdown with 9:15 left in the game to take a 41-20 lead.
“We gave up too many big plays, too many long plays,” Devereaux said. “We did not do very well against the screen on defense.”
Devereaux said the Panthers will also look to improve their passing game, saying they need to be able to gain yards through the air when trailing.
Next Friday, Wenatchee is scheduled to play at Eisenhower.