In their final tune-up before the state district football playoffs get under way, the Mehlville Panthers rolled over the winless Fox Warriors last Friday night at Fox High School, 46-12.
The Panthers, who improved to 6-1 with the win, dominated the overmatched Warriors from the start as they jumped out to a 46-0 halftime lead before using many backup players in the second half. After one quarter, the Panthers led Fox 26-0.
Panthers Coach Gary Heyde was happy with the way his team played, and had some words of encouragement for the players from Fox — a group that included about 18 players.
"The kids that stuck it out at Fox really played," he said. "It's hard, because they don't have much left, but they never gave up and played hard."
With so few athletes playing, it does say a lot that the Warriors were able to score a couple of times in the second half even with the game way out of hand.
The Panthers, meanwhile, didn't play so bad themselves. On the strength of two touchdowns each from Darnell Trice and Tim Craig, Mehlville was dominating in its last game before the playoffs.
"We had good field position all night," Heyde told the Call. "In the first half we scored 46 points on 24 plays, thanks to our field position."
Craig led the Panthers in rushing on the night with 75 yards, while quarterback Ronald Roberts completed six passes for 110 yards and three touchdowns.
Bailey Trent scored both of the Fox touchdowns in the second half on runs of 23 and 2 yards.
On deck for the Panthers are the Christian Brothers College Cadets, who come into the game with a record of 5-2.
This game, at least on paper, could determine the district champion. That fact is not lost on the Panthers or their coach.
"CBC is a big, strong football team and we'll have to play a good game," Heyde noted. "This starts the state playoffs, and this game could determine the district."
That isn't a guarantee, though, as the 5-2 St. Louis University High Billikens have not been an easy win for anyone. "SLUH is playing well right now," Heyde told the Call. "They could be in the mix."
Rounding out the district that includes CBC, SLUH and Mehlville is 1-6 Roose-velt.
Mehlville will play at 7 p.m. at the new CBC High School 1850 De LaSalle Drive.
The new school features a synthetic turf playing field.