The St. Mary’s Panthers came into Friday’s contest at Pinole Valley hoping to get ready for league play with their third win in five games. But on this night, the Panthers didn’t have it in them to knock off the undefeated Spartans, who scored 32 unanswered points en route to a 39-7 victory.
Pinole Valley (5-0) looked completely different from a team that finished last season with just two regular season wins. A balanced scoring attack featured three touchdowns through the air, two scores on the ground, and an interception return for a touchdown. Junior quarterback Adrian Smith posted an amazing 30 yards per pass attempt by completing eight of 11 passes for 330 yards. A balanced rushing attack saw Anthony Jones and Manjera Newson each rush 12 times for 61 and 69 yards, respectively, while yards D’Andre McFarland carried 13 times for 94 yards and a score.
The Spartans scored on their first four offensive possessions and racked up 545 total offensive yards. Early on, the story of the game was Pinole Valley’s potent passing attack. On the very first play from scrimmage, senior split end Marcus Maxwell transformed a short slant pattern into an 84-yard touchdown on a nice play-action pass from Smith. Suddenly, Pinole Valley conjured up memories of the 49er glory days, with Smith and Washington playing the roles of Joe Montana and Jerry Rice convincingly.
Maxwell scored a 30-yard touchdown on the ensuing Spartan possession with 8:07 left in the first quarter for a 13-0 lead. The Panthers were forced to punt again, but appeared to have the Spartans right where they wanted them after a 67-yard punt by Chris Hutchinson was downed at the Spartan one-yard line.
Yet when the Panthers made a good play, the Spartans responded with a great one. Smith rolled to his right and found the "other" wide receiver for the Spartans, Marcus Davis, open for a 95-yard touchdown jaunt. If Maxwell is Pinole Valley’s Jerry Rice, then Davis is their John Taylor, shedding defenders seemingly at will. While Maxwell finished with five receptions for 177 yards and two touchdowns, Davis was no slouch with three receptions for 127 yards and a score.
As for the Panthers, they struggled on offense all game long. Quarterback Jason Washington finished eight of 16 for 155 yards, a remarkable performance when you consider several of his throws were dropped by his receivers. Omar Young, who normally lines up exclusively at the wideout position, finished with three receptions for 66 yards but had to fill in at the running back position due to Trestin George’s due to "school issues."
Fullback Danny Wheeler stepped up his game with 11 rushes for a team-high 87 yards despite suffering an ankle injury in the first half.
St. Mary’s defense clamped down in the second half and broke through for the team’s lone score in the fourth quarter when Phil Weatheroy scooped up a fumble and sprinted 53 yards for a touchdown. Pinole Valley scored just once in the second half, and that came with 32 seconds remaining in the contest.
The Panthers open up league play on Saturday, October 14th, with a 1:30 P.M. home contest against the Kennedy Eagles.