On Thursday, I was at Farris stadium as the O’Connor Panthers hosted the Steele Knights. In my preview article I wrote for www.sasports.com, I predicted a Steele blowout – but I didn’t expect the O’Connor Panthers to have over 400 yards of total offense, to have 22 first downs and put up 27 points against one of the top defenses in the state of Texas.
When the season ends, I am confident that the 400 yards of offense will be the most Steele will give up, though Judson might have something to say about that Sept. 23 when they play Steele.
I was impressed with the poise and composure of the O’Connor Panthers. They never quit despite being beat by a score of 52 to 27. I know this loss is going to help O’Connor when they start their district games in a few weeks. Don’t be surprised if they are playing for the District 27-6A championship.
The O’Connor Panthers’ senior quarterback, Clayton Maxwell, was 8 of 17 passing for 141 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Sophomore quarterback, Roel Sanchez, was 6 of 9 passing for 73 yards with 1 interception. The leading receiver was Junior Johnathon Tapia, who had 3 receptions for 36 yards and 2 touchdowns. Maxwell and Sanchez distributed the football to 10 receivers.
One of player to watch this year on O’Connor is senior running back Jamontae Edwards. In Week 1 against the Reagan Rattlers, he had just 6 carries for 17 yards. Last week, he exploded for 153 yards and 3 touchdowns. On Thursday, he struggled for only 65 yards on 11 carries. I am on the Millard Bradford bandwagon. He is a sophomore wide receiver for O’Connor; he had 2 receptions for 35 yards.
The Steele Knights are loaded with talent: junior quarterback Xavier Martin, senior running back Bryson Henley and senior wide receiver Antoine Cox-Wesley have all verbally committed to Texas Tech University. Senior defensive end Mark Jackson has verbally committed to Texas A&M.
Jackson was in the O’Connor backfield all night long causing havoc for the quarterbacks and running backs. He also recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass for a touchdown. The Aggies are getting a tremendous athlete who will do great things on the field and in the classroom.
The Steele Knights had 460 yards of total offense. Xavier Martin was 11 of 17 passing for 214 yards with 1 touchdown and he also had 7 carries for 37 yards. This was my first time seeing Xavier at the quarterback position.
He looked like a seasoned veteran and managed the game perfectly for Steele. Travell Lumpkin, the junior running back, had 14 carries for 132 yards with 4 touchdowns. Bryson Denley had 3 carries for 54 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 receptions for 48 yards and 1 touchdown. Antoine Cox-Wesley, who is the by far the tallest player on the field, had 5 receptions for 86 yards. CJ Williams, another junior, had 3 receptions for 71 yards.
Next Thursday, they face the DeSoto Eagles at Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton. Many media folks thought this game would be a battle of the undefeated, but DeSoto hasn’t played up to their expectations, remaining winless so far. After that game, Steele opens District 25-6A against the Smithson Valley Rangers. Larry Hill, the Rangers’ head coach, was sitting on the O’Connor sideline. And he wasn’t watching as a fan – he was scouting.
Next Friday, I will be at Canyon Lake high school as the Canyon Lake Hawks host the Wimberly Texans. On Saturday, I will be at Comalander stadium for the Reagan Rattlers and the East Central Hornets.
You can follow me on twitter @statmanspeaks for game-day updates, stats, photos, and more.