Despite losing their second game in a row when they fell 28-13 at No. 7 BGM Friday night, 4-3 Pekin has reentered the Class A football rankings at No. 10 after losing last week to 5-2 Highland, Riverside and failing to receive enough votes to crack the top-10. The third loss the Panthers suffered was 28-21 at Mediapolis who is ranked No. 9 in Class 1A with a 6-1 record and whose only defeat came this past Friday versus No. 7 Wilton who is also in Class 1A.
While the offensive scoring has predominately come from the Panthers rushing attack that features junior Dayne Eckley and senior Zach Hammes, the two touchdowns scored in Brooklyn Friday were through the air.
Caleb Comstock completed half of his 14 attempts and accumulated 106 yards passing with touchdown connections to senior Tanner Bainbridge and junior Kennan Winn. The receivers each had three catches with the senior gaining 41 yards and the junior tallying 47, while senior Connor Reed had one catch for 18.
Eckley did have 15 carries to lead the team, but he gained a personal season-low of 32 yards rushing.
Hammes had his best game of the year with 10 carries for 119 yards which put him back into the improbable-but-possible category when it comes to rushing for 1,000 yards in his senior season, a personal goal of his that his teammates razzed him about during preseason interviews. The tailback Eckley now has 1,237 yards on the year, while Hammes has 531 from the fullback slot.
Defensively, the Panthers were led by Bainbridge and Winn who each had interceptions. The kicking duties were handle by Levi Rohr, with the junior going 1-1 in PATs and booting three kickoffs for 127 yards and a touchback.
The punting quarterback, Comstock had five for 145 yards, including a 51-yarder for Pekin.
Pekin will now travel to 4-3 Belle Plaine who is also 1-2 in the district after defeating Cardinal 40-12 Friday in Eldon.
The following week will be senior night for the Panthers as well as the annual “Heroes Game” with free admission for “anyone that is serving or has served in law enforcement, volunteer fire departments, military or first responder services,” according to head football coach/activities director Bud Blakely who added, “We want to say thank you to the countless people in our communities that sacrifice so much for us.”
Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. versus 5-2 Durant.
The Comets fell to 4-3 overall and 0-3 in district A-6 with a 40-12 home loss to 4-3 Belle Plaine. Cardinal will now host 5-2 Highland, Riverside for senior night with the final game of the season on the road at No. 7 BGM, Brooklyn.
The Warriors lost 35-0 at 3-4 Wapello, leaving the team 1-6 overall and 1-2 in district 1A-5 with senior night Friday versus 6-1 Mediapolis who is ranked No. 9 in Class 1A. Van Buren will travel to No. 7 Wilton for their season finale in week nine.