PAOLA — The Panther defense was the story of the “Rivalry on K-68” showdown between Paola and Louisburg.
Paola dominated Louisburg on fourth down, taking over on downs five times. The Panthers stopped the Wildcats on third down nine of 11 times.
After a slow start at Panther Stadium on Friday, Oct. 22, Paola cruised to a 49-7 victory to win the Frontier League title. Paola, ranked No. 1 in the state, improved to 8-0.
The Panther defense held Louisburg to 212 yards of total offense, including 201 yards on the ground. Paola ran the ball for 393 yards with 404 yards in total offense.
Paola fumbled the football on its first possession. While the temperature continued to dip as the evening wore on, the Panther offense warmed up. Paola scored on seven of its next nine possessions.
Jovanni Blackie opened the scoring on a 5-yard touchdown run with 5:49 left in the first quarter.
Paola linemen Darmarius Bassett and Daquan Rogers had a quarterback sack, making it fourth and 17 for Louisburg. Jackson Earlywine broke up a pass and the Panthers took over on downs. Louisburg faced another fourth down and long in the second quarter and Earlywine broke up a pass play, giving the Panthers the ball again.
This time Paola took full advantage, scoring eight plays later on a 4-yard touchdown run by Blackie. Quarterback Garrett Williams completed a pass to Brock Pitzer for the two-point conversion.
Williams made a big hit to stop a run by the Wildcats. Defensive back Nick Walker broke up a pass and Louisburg was forced to punt.
The Panthers put together an eight-play drive, covering 69 yards. Blackie had a 12-yard run and a 13-yard run on the drive. Williams put the ball in the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run as Paola increased its lead to 21-0.
Louisburg attempted another fourth down conversion, needing one yard, and were denied with a huge stop by Paola linemen Carter Stanchfield and Rogers.
Paola led 21-0 at the half.
The Wildcats had the ball to open the third quarter. After picking up a pair of first downs, Louisburg was stopped on fourth down and 12 with a pass play broken up by Walker.
Paola took over at midfield and took advantage of the short field, scoring two plays later. Williams had a 49-yard run. He scored on a 1-yard touchdown run.
On fourth down and three the Louisburg Wildcats were stymied by the Paola Panthers again on a great solo tackle by Isaac Brakner.
Paola struck again, marching 84 yards in five plays. Blackie scored on a 37-yard touchdown run, making it 35-0.
With a lead of 35 points after three quarters, the fourth quarter was played with a running clock.
Paola made it 42-0 on a 3-yard touchdown run by Williams. Fletcher Aude capped a drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to increase the lead to 49-0.
Louisburg got on the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter on a 68-yard touchdown run by Ben Wiedenmann, making the final 49-7.
Williams made 10 tackles to lead the Paola defense. Brakner had eight tackles. Pitzer made seven tackles.
Aude had five tackles. Walker and Earlywine each had four tackles. Stanchfield and Bassett made three tackles each. Jake Karr and Rogers each had a pair of tackles. Andy Linder and Maxwell Douglas also had tackles.
Blackie led the Panther offense, running the ball 19 times for 204 yards and three touchdowns. Williams ran the ball 14 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns. He completed two of nine passes. Aude had nine carries for 41 yards and a touchdown.
Wiedenmann ran the ball six times for 86 yards. Quarterback Weston Guetterman had 14 carries for 55 yards.
Guetterman completed one of eight passes. Konnor Vohs had one reception.
Guetterman, Vohs and Collins each had two tackles for the Wildcats. Kolby Kattau, Andy Hupp, Morrison Crilly and Alec Younggren also made tackles.