PITTSBURG β€” Coming off back-to-back losses, the Pittsburg-St. Mary’s Colgan Panthers exploded for 63 first-quarter points and rolled from there to a 70-15 victory over Yates Center in the Class 1A-District 1 opener Thursday night at Hutchinson Field.

“Our guys executed very well on both sides of the ball,” said SMC coach Shawn Seematter. “Offensively, we spread the ball around and got a lot of guys involved. Coach Snow had our defense playing lights out again tonight. We had a lot of guys flying around and making plays on both sides of the ball. Special teams played well also. We still have room for improvement and things to correct, but overall we were happy with our efforts tonight.”

Colgan opened the season with three straight wins but was coming off consecutive losses to Centralia and Abilene. With Thursday’s win, the Panthers improved to 4-2 overall and 1-0 in district play heading into their Friday, Oct. 12, home game against Pleasanton. The Blu-Jays are currently 5-0 overall as they entertain Uniontown in the other district game on Friday.

As for Yates Center, it dropped to 1-5 on the season and 0-1 in District 1. The Wildcats will try to end a four-game losing streak on Oct. 12 when they host Uniontown.

The Panthers dominated Thursday’s contest from the opening kick, striking for nine touchdowns in the first quarter alone.

Kash Marietta got things started with a 47-yard scamper to the end zone. Cade Simmons then tossed a 17-yard scoring strike to Cal Marquardt. Domenico Bevilacqua ran in from 18 yards out, and Simmons scored on a Β 21-yard run to bump the Colgan lead to 28-0.

Yates Center was able to get on the scoreboard with a 55-yard run midway through the quarter, but SMC eventually blew the game wide open. Marietta returned the ensuing kickoff 75 yards for a score. That was followed by a three-yard run into the end zone by Matthew Lomshek, The Panthers added three more scores in the opening period to open up a 63-7 advantage.

That was more than enough to lock up the Colgan victory. The Wildcats were able to narrow the gap slightly with a touchdown run in the third quarter, but the Panthers responded on a Derek VanBecelaere 44-yard run to put the finishing touch on the win.

SMC dominated every aspect of the contest, racking up 459 total yards of offense while limiting Yates Center to just 189. The Panthers also forced the Wildcats into five turnovers β€” all by fumble.

Colgan did most of its damage on the ground, finishing with 399 rushing yards. Simmons, who completed 4-of-5 passes for 60 yards, led the Panthers with 84 yards on the ground by way of just four carries. Marietta followed with 81 yards on three attempts.

(Photo by Lori Ann Spachek)

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