Panthers open with 49-0 rout of Granite City

GRANITE CITY – It took five games for Jersey to score their first touchdown of the fall 2021 season.

It took two more to get ahead of Granite City 14-0. And after a scoop and run fumble recovery TD, the Panthers were leading 21-0.

Jersey took a 49-0 victory over Granite City on Friday night at Kevin Greene Field. The Panthers had three practices in one game.

“We wanted to play well after our horrible spring season,” Jersey coach Ric Johns said. “We focus on execution. we wanted to reduce the penalties, which we did. And it’s not always easy to do in a first game. We can’t afford penalties, we’re not built for third and long.

“We came out strong and put them down and on a wet night it makes it harder for a team.”

Jersey, who went 1-5 in the shortened 2021 spring season, had 142 yards from second-year fullback Aiden Talley, including 42 yards in the Panthers’ first play, which set up a touchdown one yard run by Talley just minutes after the start of the match.

Jersey kicker Keegan Griffith scored the extra point after Talley TD. Griffith was a busy guy; he made seven of the seven PAT attempts.

During Granite City’s subsequent possession, a false punt was muffled deep in the Warriors’ territory by the Panthers defense. Jersey needed a game to make it 14-0, when quarterback Logan Schultz ran 22 yards for the touchdown with 5:34 left in the first quarter.

“We’ve had good full backs since I came to Jersey,” said Johns, “but Talley brings that extra dimension to that. He’s one of the fastest kids on the team and he’s only a sophomore, when he knocks in the open, he goes.

“(Schultz) was playing and reading Granite’s defense well. It helped Talley when he got off those leads.

On Granite City’s next possession, Brayden Rogers spat the ball out. Jersey’s David Barrios-Madison picked it up and sent it back for 30 yards for a touchdown with 2:54 to go. After the PAT it was 21-0.

After forcing Granite City to kick on the opening play of the second quarter, the Panthers didn’t need much time to add another touchdown.

Talley took the ball off the left side and ran 54 yards for a touchdown with 9:30 to go before halftime.

With 2:25 left at halftime, Barrios-Madison recovered their second fumble of the game, putting Jersey on their own 40-yard line. The Panthers didn’t need just one play yet, this one of a 60-yard touchdown pass through mid-Schultz to Chase Withrow. PAT went 35-0 with 2:16 remaining before halftime.

Jersey still had a shot at securing a second half when Jack Dos Santos recovered a Warriors fumble on their first down two minutes from time.

The Panthers started at Granite City’s 23-yard line and went down to 10, but the drive stalled and Griffith’s 27-yard field goal attempt was blocked.

In a scoreless third quarter, Jersey forced Granite City to punt, then held the ball the remainder of the quarter and took possession of the Granite City 15-yard line early in the fourth quarter.

The Panthers scored in their second play of the fourth quarter, making it 42-0 with 11:49 remaining in the game. This started the IHSA’s Rule of Mercy clock, which begins when a 40-point margin is reached at any time during the second half.

Even with the clock running, the Panthers still had time to score again. Backup quarterback Tanner Brunaugh scored on an 18-yard rush with 3:02 to go.

“We will take that evening and start preparing for Marion next week,” Johns said. “It’s a long bus ride and it will be a tough test.”

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