For the first time in recent memory, the Austin Panthers and El Paso Tigers are not in the same district. However, both teams anticipated the storied Battle of the Claw game, despite no district or playoff implications.
Austin’s R.E. McKee Stadium was packed on almost both sides of the stadium with an energetic and eager crowd. The fans got their first score of the ball game with a little under 5 minutes remaining in the opening quarter, when Austin’s Jayden Wilson had a 14-yard Touchdown run to put the Panthers up, 7-0.
On El Paso High’s very next drive, they evened things out with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Martin Gonzalez to Edgar Garcia to tie the game, 7-7.
On Austin’s next drive, they drove the ball all the way downfield, which ended with a 1-yard Irving Cortinas Quarterback keeper to put the Panthers up, 14-7, with less than a minute into the 2nd Quarter.
With less than 5 minutes left before halftime, Austin’s Jayden Wilson, once again, found paydirt to put the Panthers up 20-7, with a blocked Field Goal.
El Paso High’s next drive was abruptly halted when Austin’s Israel Luna picked off Martin and ran it all the way back for a Pick 6. That was the last score of the half, as the Panthers went in with the 26-7 halftime lead.
The very final score of the game came from Austin standout, Jayden Wilson, with a 10-yard Touchdown run late in the 3rd Quarter.
The Panthers were victorious on Homecoming night against their longtime rivals, as they hoisted the Battle of the Claw trophy, with the score of 32-7.
Next Friday, the Tigers (3-1), will host the Irvin Rockets. The Panthers (2-3), will take on Dumas at Ratliff Stadium in Odessa next Thursday.
Story by Paul David Oliver