Pekin routs Cardinal for Homecoming

Torell Washington (24) helped the Pekin Panthers run all over Cardinal in the Homecoming win. He scored once in the game and had 145 of Pekin’s 511 rushing yards.

Pekin was the first school in the area to have their Homecoming festivities. A week of spirit and pride helped hype up the football game on Sept. 22. The Panthers couldn't have gotten much better a result, beating up Eldon 56-6.

Pekin got off to a quick start, scoring on their first drive, forcing a fumble, and scoring again. Torell Washington was responsible for opening it up, scampering for 46-yards to the end-zone. After the defense forced the turnover, Caleb Comstock threw a short six-yard pass to Keaton Baayen for a score.

The Panthers had many options in the backfield. Baayen, Washington and Dayne Eckley were all used throughout. The biggest weapon for the Panthers, Monico Requena, was given a week to rest. After five weeks, Requena was averaging over 100 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Baayen got his second score of the game, with a 29-yard run. Pekin tacked on another big play in the first quarter, a 50-yard run coming from Eckley. Chandler Eckley got in on the scoring with a 37-yard reception, increasing the lead to 35 points.

"Right now, I'm pleased with where we're at," Panthers coach Bud Blakely said. "Our seniors set the bar high at the beginning of the year, and we haven't looked back."

Dayne capped off his monstrous game with three running scores of 20 yards, 19 yards and 39 yards. Cardinal got their only score of the game before half, with an 80-yard run. In the second half, Pekin put in their second and third-string players, gaining some yards but not adding onto the score.

In total, the Panthers rushed for 485 yards, more than Cardinal's 224 total yardage. Dayne showed his speed and finesse, while running for 168 yards, a majority in the first half. Washington also eclipsed the century mark, tearing off 132 yards on five carries.

"It's always nice to get through the homecoming distractions, put points on the board and put up a stifling defense," Blakely said. "There's not much more you can ask."

Comstock didn't have a big game through the air, but he was efficient. He missed twice on seven passes, going for 95 yards and his two scores. Comstock remained sturdy, not fumbling the ball or throwing an interception.

The Panther's defense forced four Cardinal turnovers, three picks and one fumble. Zach Hammes and Baayen each recorded a sack and combined for three tackles. Pekin was constantly disrupting Cardinal, recording nine tackles for a loss of yards.

"Our defensive coordinator does a terrific job getting our players ready each week," Blakely said.

Each turnover came at a crucial time in the game. One interception halted a long Cardinal drive, which would have kept things close before Pekin blew open the game. Pekin wasn't perfect either, coughing up the ball three times, twice in the second half.

The Panthers will face a tough test when they travel to face Lynnville-Sully on September 29.