The Watervliet Panthers moved to 10-0 Friday night with a 36-0 Pre-District playoff win over Schoolcraft, ending the Eagles’ season at 5-5. The shutout is the first of the year for the Panther defense, which forced two turnovers, four punts, and held Schoolcraft to under 200 total offensive yards.
After forcing a punt on the opening Eagle drive, Watervliet quarterback Zack Pickens needed one play to score, taking off on a 65-yard touchdown rush. On Watervliet’s third drive, Pickens had a 40-yard rushing score. The Eagles ate up about eight minutes on a lengthy drive which got to the red zone, but ended in an interception to Jakob Aldrich. Schoolcraft was able to force a turnover on downs twice in the first half and kept the Panthers from scoring on an untimed down to end the second quarter, keeping the game at 14-0 into halftime.
Pickens connected with Bryant Kieft on a 20-yard passing touchdown 58 seconds into the third quarter and extended the lead to 22-0 with a shovel pass to Garrett Matthews on the two-point conversion. Schoolcraft punted, but forced a quick turnover on downs and got the ball back near midfield. However, the Eagles fumbled the ball to defensive lineman Blake Kinzler. Not long after, Pickens hit Trent Boone for a 29-yard touchdown pass. The Panthers added one more score off a six-yard James Bell run.
Unofficially, Pickens was 7-16 passing for 167 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 179 yards with two touchdowns on 24 attempts. His scores put him at 31 passing touchdowns and 27 rushing scores on the season. Garrett Matthews had four catches for 119 yards. Schoolcraft QB Brady Flynn was 3-8 for 30 yards with one pick. Kobe Clark led the rushing at 85 yards on 21 carries. Jack Hunt was held to 32 on 14 attempts.
Watervliet advances to the district final next weekend against Delton Kellogg, who blitzed Parchment 57-0. Watervliet defeated DK (now 6-4) on the road 58-44 in week six, although of note, that 14-point deficit is the closest anyone has been this season to Watervliet. You can listen to the Watervliet/Delton Kellogg game on the Slocum Sports Network.
Listen back to Friday’s Pre-District below: