The Derby Panthers have four rushers that have more than 400 yards this season. Derby quarterback Chandler Shantz and running back Tyler West stole the show once again Friday night and can add the sectional playoff against Dodge City to their stats. The Panther rushers were impossible to stop as they earned the win 42-19.
“You know, Chandler can run the ball as a quarterback and he can also throw the ball,” said Derby head coach Brandon Clark. “Then we have Tyler who is a bruiser and has speed too so they are a good compliment to each other. With a quarterback and running back that are both threats, you have to cover both sides of the ball.”
The Demons up tempo spread offense struck first. The second play of Dodge City’s first possession resulted in a 59- yard break away touchdown by senior running back Parker Davis. Immediately following the Demon score, Derby senior Kellen Sims ran back the kickoff to tie the score at seven.
With only 30 seconds left in the first quarter, Shantz hit the sideline for a 17 yard quarterback sweep giving the Panthers a seven point cushion 14-7. Dodge City, however, chipped its way back into the picture. Two demanding drives resulted in Dillon Burkhard field goals and they put the Demons within one point of the Panthers. Just when the Demons thought they had momentum on their side, Shantz hit junior receiver DeAndre Goolsby on a post route in the back of the end zone and Derby took the lead going into the half 21-14. A certain momentum boost for the Panthers but they still had work to do in the locker room.
“He [Coach Clark] told us, offensively, we kept shooting ourselves in the foot and we really were,” said Shantz. “We had some stupid mistakes, some bad plays, and we were limiting ourselves to what we could do. So he kind of ripped us a new one there but it worked. We got it together and got fired up and came out and did what we needed to do.”
Dodge City opened the second half with a 10-yard Dakota Duckett touchdown bringing the Demons within two points. Derby responded with a long drive ending in a Shantz dive up the middle. The Panthers were still ahead 27-19 but still within reach.
“We made some mistakes early,” said Clark. “We did. In the second half we came out and we didn’t have our off sides penalties and stuff like that. We eliminated our mistakes and took care of business.”
After the Panthers figured it out the Demons’ momentum was shot. They gave up two turnovers to Derby on a fumble and a muffed kickoff. Both resulted in scoring drives for the Panthers.
“We talked about getting them down,” Clark said. “They have a lot of two -way starters and we have a lot of one-way starters so they were getting tired and I think that led to some turnovers so that helped us out. Momentum is huge in high school football.”
That momentum carried them to seal the win against Dodge City 42-19. The next opponent for Derby will be the Hutchinson Salthawks in the state semi-finals. A rematch both teams are eager for.
“We’re going to treat it like any other game but I know our kids are going to be excited,” said Clark. “That’s a pretty big rivalry and they are proving to be one of the best teams in the state so it’s our job to prepare well and hopefully knock them off.”
“Well me personally, I know a lot of those guys and it’s going to be fun to play them again,” Shantz said. “I know our team wants some revenge because we know that we probably could have beat them last time and we’re ready.”