After enduring a road trip of more than 400 miles to the stadium, the Panthers showed no signs of bus lag. Torrington attempted to surprise Powell with an onside kick at the outset of the game, but the Panthers were having nothing to do with it.
After collecting the ball at their own 48, Powell needed just six rushing plays and less than three minutes to find the end zone for the only points the team would require. Olie Olson capped the scoring drive with a 3-yard touchdown burst.
Moments later, Powell returned to the end zone with a defensive score. Cooper Wise grabbed the ball out of the hands of a Trailblazer receiver on second-and-10 and scampered roughly 60 yards the opposite direction for a score.
After a three-and-out defensively, Powell was again in business after returning a punt to the Torrington 43. A 24-yard fullback run from Garrett Lynch on Powell’s first play took the ball into the red zone. A 19-yard run to paydirt by Keithen Schwahn was taken off the scoreboard by penalty, but the setback was only momentary. Four plays later, Olson was in the end zone with his second touchdown carry of the game, this time from 15 yards away.
Schwahn picked up an errant snap on the point-after to make the Panthers’ lead 22-0 with time still remaining in the first period.
Then it was Josh Cragoe’s turn. The Panthers’ senior quarterback scored on a 45-yard run midway through the second quarter to give the Panthers a 29-0 lead. In the second half, Cragoe tossed a 15-yard pass to Wise, then scampered in from 17 yards out.
Powell’s final score of the game came on a 2-yard dive from sophomore Cory Heny.
As impressive as Powell’s offense was clicking, the defense was perhaps more imposing. The Panthers’ stop unit held Torrington to just 37 yards of total offense, unofficially. The Trailblazers finished with a negative-1 yard passing as Powell’s secondary played stingy and the linebacking corps and defensive line reacted quickly to every screen and flair route attempted.
After the long away trip, Powell fans will get to stay close to home this Friday night as the Panthers host Jackson. The Broncs fell from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 21-7 loss to Lander, but still enter the game with a 2-1 overall record. Powell, on the other hand, could carry the bulls-eye of being the top-ranked team in Class 3A into that contest.
The Panthers would appear to be the heir apparent to the top spot when the new coaches’ and media poll is released this week after No. 1 Green River was tripped up 17-14 in overtime by Buffalo.
Kickoff in Friday’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m.