Making a response

Smith scores 5 total TDs, leads Panthers to 39-0 win over MCW

Photo by Jake McNeill: Tracy-Milroy-Balaton quarterback Trevor Smith rolls out to his left on a pass play during the first quarter of the Panthers’ 39-0 win over Martin County West in Tracy on Friday night.

TRACY — The Tracy-Milroy-Balaton bounced back from last week’s loss to Sleepy Eye United with a dominant win over Martin County West Friday night. The Panthers took an early lead and never looked back in the 39-0 victory.

“To finally put it all together was really nice in week three to prove to ourselves that we can do it moving forward is going to be huge coming down the stretch,” TMB head coach Jason Kainz said of the win. 

The first and second halves started very similarly for the Panthers. Seven minutes into the first half, Trevor Smith took a six-yard run into the endzone to give TMB a 7-0 lead. Just 20 seconds into the second half, he took the first play from scrimmage for a 59-yard run to the house to give the Panthers a 33-0 lead.

Smith finished the game with 80 yards on the ground on six attempts. He also had a 14-yard rushing touchdown later in the third quarter to give TMB a 39-0 lead and trigger the running clock for the fourth quarter.

“His vision just to be able to see the field, the game has slowed down quite a bit for him,” Kainz said. “He’s able to see what the defense is trying to do and then is able to do something with his legs about it. Last week he got a little stymied by Sleepy Eye so it was nice to see him respond.”

As a passer, Smith also threw for 192 yards on 22 attempts. 

Starting quarters strong seemed to be a trend for TMB. On the first play of the second quarter, Ashton Squires intercepted a Maverick pass over the middle to set the Panthers’ offense up just past midfield. Squires finished the day with a pass deflection and six tackles, tied with Alex Schuh for a team-high.

“You have to be in the right position to make those plays and then be able to make those plays is something that worked this week,” Kainz said. “The first week against Dawson [Boyd], we were in position and then just didn’t make the play and then last week we struggled a little bit on the road and then it all came together this week. So you had to be in the right place, the right time and the opportunity to make those plays and then actually do that to make the plays was huge.”

Jaret Ankrum followed up Squires pick with a touchdown reception. After the Panthers worked their way down the field. Ankrum caught a short ball just past the line of scrimmage and was promptly met by an MCW defender. He muscled his way through the tackle and reached the ball past the pylon for an 8-yard touchdown and a 13-0 TMB lead.

Noah Knakmuhs was an impact player on both sides of the ball for the Panthers. Defensively, he had three tackles and a seven-yard sack. Offensively, he had three receptions for 46 yards. At the end of the first half, he fought off a defensive back as he leaped into the air to catch a pass in the front right corner of the endzone for a 27-0 Panther lead at the break.

Schuh led the TMB ground attack with 16 carries for 103 yards. He also had an 18-yard reception.

“Our passing game is something that… we’ve worked on and had success with, so I guess our running game is something that we kind of talked about going into halftime and making some adjustments and trying to run the ball,” Kainz said. “We were able to establish a running game in the second half and that’s something that we’re going to have to continue working on for Windom and then in the future too.”

Griffin Zick seemed to be open all night for the Panthers. While he didn’t find the endzone, he had four catches on a team-high eight targets for 50 yards.

Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (2-1) will look to keep the ball rolling when they go on the road to face Windom Area on Saturday at 1 p.m.


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