WENATCHEE — Coming into Friday’s homecoming game, the Wenatchee Panthers had only two practices following multiple cases of COVID-19 on the team.
Their opponent, the West Valley Rams of Yakima, came in with a record of 1-2. The Panthers were 1-4.
The Panthers lost 28-7 to the rams, and Head Coach Scott Devereaux the team will look to tighten things up in practice.
“I’m looking forward to a real week of practice and fixing a few things. But very, very frustrating,” Devereaux said. “I think the players are frustrated too, they know we can play a lot better than we played tonight.”
West Valley scored first in the game. A Panther fumble on a high snap gave the Rams the ball at the 33-yard line. The Rams would find the endzone on a touchdown thrown by junior Skylar Cassel to senior Drew Johnson. The extra point was missed, putting the score at 6-0 minutes into the game.
Ben Trammell tacked on a touchdown reception thrown by Cassel just before the end of the first quarter, though another missed extra point kept the score at 12-0.
The Panther’s only score of the game was tied to their special teams’ play. After a stalled drive forced a punt on 4th and 15, the Panthers downed the punt at the Rams three-yard line. The Panther’s defense was stout and forced a three and out and a Rams pass.
The Panthers drove down the field on the ensuing drive, with sophomore Jacob Devereaux completing a pass to senior Johnny Amezcua. The touchdown put the Panthers on the board, and the extra point tightened the score to 12-7 going into the half.
The Panthers opened the second half with a touchdown from Cassel to junior Jackson May. With two failed extra points in the game, the Rams went for two, though the Panthers intercepted the pass, keeping the score at 18-7.
A Drew Johnson interception gave the Rams the ball at the 21-yard line. Two dropped passes kept the Rams out of the endzone, but a field goal brought the score to 21-7.
The Panthers opened the fourth quarter with forever to go, as offensive pass interference and a sack brought it to second and 34 yards. A completed pass gave them 17 yards, though an incompletion on third down forced a Panthers punt.
With 8:37 left in the fourth, the Panthers had an opportunity to make it a one-possession game. Three false starts and a dropped pass on third down dashed that hope, and Wenatchee punted with just over seven minutes remaining.
“A week of no practicing really affected our offense tonight,” Devereaux said. “Too many unforced errors, I guess you would say. Sixteen penalties, I think we had.”
A Beau Warren interception with 6:42 left gave the Panthers the ball right back, though the Panthers gave the ball back with 6:24 on the clock.
Ben Trammell tacked on another touchdown with two minutes left in the game put the game score at 28-7.
“Offensively, we did not play very well,” Devereaux said. “Defense was on the field a lot, and they played their butts off. I think they played with everything they had.”