Pinewood looks to overcome slow start

Pinewood QB Bobby Casey had a big game last week, but the Panthers struggled in the red zone.

Pinewood suffered a tough loss Friday night when the Panthers travelled to Wilson Hall of Sumter.

The Panthers lost 34-3 as they dropped to 2-3 on the season.

Disappointing would be an understatement,” Pinewood coach Jody Kafina said. “We are improving slowly but we are still not at the point where we can physically match up with the other teams. We are not where we need to be to win”.

The first shock of the game was delivered early. On Wilson Hall’s first drive, Barons’ QB William Kinney threw to Robert Rohner for a touchdown. The home team kept up the pressure and went into the half up 21-0.

The Panthers put points on the board in the third quarter when senior Thomas Ferro kicked a field goal.

The kicking part of our game is making great strides and I am happy with how that is going,” Kafina said. “We missed three scoring opportunities that could have changed the game. I was disappointed that we didn’t take advantage of those opportunities. However defensively, our tackling and general fundamentals are improving. Our team pursuit on each play is big for us too so I am happy about that.”

Michael Pendley led the Panther defense Friday and finished with eight solo tackles. Brian Doucet and Joseph Bates each had an interception for the Panthers.

On offense, the Panthers did move the ball. Pinewood QB Bobby Casey completed 12 of 34 passes for 171 yards. Johnny O’Shaughnessy had 10 receptions for 76 yards and Tyler Malphrus had three receptions for 77 yards. Junior Jarrett Londergan added 49 rushing yards on seven carries.

Kafina is hoping the yards gained will turn into points in the following weeks.

 We are at the mid point of our season and we are developing rhythm,” he said. “On Friday, we had four drives that were six plays or better and although we didn’t execute in the red zone I am pleased with that.”

But the road does not become any smoother for the Panthers, who this week must prepare for a home game against five-time state champion Hammond School.

Hammond is well coached, well disciplined and they really play hard,” Kafina said. “They expect to win. We are looking forward to a good week at practice where we will up the level of competition. This will be a great test for us.”

While the first-year Panther coach would have liked to see his team go above .500 last week, he remains optimistic about the season.

Our sophomores and our juniors have really stepped up and have bought into what we are doing,” he said. “They are committed to this program and with our belief and determination an upset is what we are working towards.”

Game time this Friday is at 7:30 p.m. at Pinewood.