Canutillo Takes Advantage of Austin’s Mistakes in 35-7 Win

Going into Friday night’s matchup, the Austin Panthers were looking to avoid Deja Vu from last season. Rewinding to the 2022-2023 season, the Panthers began the season 0-3 by losing to Ft. Stockton, Parkland and Canutillo.

So far, this season, the Panthers have lost to Ft. Stockton and Parkland and traveled to Canutillo to take on the Eagles at their stadium with their unique and distinguishable blue turf. 

It was apparent that Austin’s game plan was to run the ball and make the game as quick as possible. They started the game just that way. The very first drive of the game, the Panthers were able to chew off about 10 minutes in the opening quarter. They were able to drive the ball all the way down to Canutillo’s 2-yard line until the Panthers fumbled the ball and that gave the Eagles their first possession of the ball game with 2 minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Eagles were unable to capitalize on the turnover and were forced to punt the ball back to the Panthers.

With less than two minutes into the 2nd quarter, mistakes began haunting the Panthers when Matthew Anakin Torres of Austin threw a long ball and was picked off by Canutillo’s David Alvarado and he ran it back to the house for a Pick 6. That was the game’s first points with the Eagles going up, 7-0. With a little over 7 minutes left in the second quarter, Austin had a muffed snap and that led to Canutillo blocking the punt and it was recovered by Nathan Orduno and returned for a touchdown to put the Eagles up, 14-0.

Only about 2 minutes passed until the nightmare of mistakes tore apart the Panthers when Torres, once again, threw another deep ball and found an Eagle’s hands. This time it was Isaac Garza who intercepted the ball and ran it back to the endzone for another Pick 6. This put the Eagles up 21-0 with under 5 minutes before halftime. With only 46 seconds left in the 1st half, the Eagles made sure to go into the locker room with a comfortable lead and their first offensive touchdown when Mathew Gasca found Pablo Peregrino in the endzone for a 10-yard touchdown pass to send the game into halftime with an emphatic 28-0 Eagle lead.

In the second half, the mistakes simmered down for the Panthers; however, the Eagles were able to tack on one more score to ensure a victory. Austin’s sole score came with 35 seconds left in the game, when Quarterback Matthew Anakin Torres bulled his way into the endzone for a hard-fought 1-yard Quarterback keeper for a touchdown. The Eagles came out of Friday night’s game with the 35-7 victory.

Though the Panthers were looking to avoid it, Friday night’s mistakes led to Deja Vu being inevitable for them. Panther Head Coach Eric Pichardo said, “It was not a very big loss. We only gave up two [defensive] touchdowns. They only ran 13 offensive plays in the first half.” He continued by saying, “It was not a big loss. We had some speciality errors, we can work on them.” He reassured everyone by saying, “our kids came to play.”

As for Coach Brooks of the Eagles, he gave kudos to his defense by saying, “when your defense scores 21 points in the first half, it says a little something about them. We asked them to be a little relentless tonight and I think they were.” He finished by saying, “Austin’s a good team, they just didn’t have breaks go their way tonight.”

Canutillo will host a tough Del Valle team next week. Austin will continue to seek their first victory of the season, as they host the Hanks Knights on Homecoming night.

Story by Paul David Oliver