I had to check the halftime score to see if it was a typo. Nope, it wasn’t. Mart really was up 76-0 over Axtell.
It was like the part in Space Jam when the Monstars are up so big that the scoreboard flies through numbers before saying, “Kinda one-sided isn’t it?”
The Panthers (6-1, 2-0) are No. 4 in the state for a reason. Their lone loss came on the road to Lexington by two points the first week of the season. Since then, Mart has pitched three shutouts while giving up an average of 9.2 points per contest.
Keep in mind that the Panthers have played a pretty decent schedule. Mart topped West by a score of 42-12 before taking down McGregor, 43-22. Two weeks later, the Panthers went out to Centerville and pulled out a 57-21 win.
Coming into Friday night’s contest, which it won 90-0, a pair of Panther defenders were top 10 across Central Texas in tackles. Cooper Baize was ninth with 73 and Zamar Kirven with 10th with 71. Kirven also had a pair of interceptions. Nine more Mart defenders had at least 26, while Camden Rhodes and Elijah Green each had three sacks each with Shatydrick Bailey adding a pair of his own.
While the defense has done its part, the offense has taken off. After putting up 38 points in their season-opening loss, the Panthers have scored at least 40 points every game since to average 60.5 points per game.
Before the fireworks against Axtell, Jace Terry was 12th in Central Texas with 779 passing yards with 54 of his 100 passes completed for 12 touchdowns and only two interceptions. His main targets have been Zamar Kirven and Jalon Kirven. Zamar had 22 catches for 324 yards and five scores, while Jalon had 21 catches for 312 yards and five touchdowns.
As far as the running game is concerned, it’s been all Tyrek Horne. Horne came into Friday night fourth in Central Texas with 71 carries for 896 yards and 10 touchdowns to his name. Meanwhile, Terry had 49 carries for 305 yards and four scores.
Just by looking at the final score, it’s obvious that all of that offensive fire power was displayed in all its glory against Axtell. But what’s even more impressive than that jaw dropping score – that wasn’t even a school record (they needed 94 points for that) – is the efficiency with which the Panthers throttled the Longhorns.
Mart ran only 14 offensive plays on the night but scored seven touchdowns on those plays. Zamar scored all five times he touched the ball. He caught two touchdown passes from Terry, returned two fumbles for touchdowns and took a kick return into the end zone as well.
Terry finished 4 for 4 with 81 passing yards and three touchdowns. Tyrek Horne ran the ball three times for 75 yards and a score, while Shatydrick Bailey carried the ball twice for 55 yards. Both touches went for touchdowns. In total, Mart scored six times on defense and special teams.
Looking to the rest of the regular season, Mart travels to Riesel on Oct. 27 and Italy on Nov. 3 before wrapping things up on Nov. 10 at home against Bosqueville. That final home stand should be a big one.
Right now, Mart and Bosqueville are tied at 2-0 atop District 8-2A Div. II standings. Riesel and Italy are next as each team has a 1-1 record with Itasca and Axtell rounding out the group, both winless in district play.
A year ago, the Panthers topped Bosqueville, 26-21. It was their closest district contest as they whooped up on the competition by a combined score of 250-43. Two games into district play this season, Mart has outscored its opposition 159-0.
Terry has already surpassed his total last year of 1,012 passing yards with three games left in the regular season. After Friday’s blowout, he’s thrown for 1,105 yards. Horne has also exceeded his numbers last season of 740 rushing yards with 971 yards this year.
While the offense has combined for 3,304 yards of total offense, the defense has held the opposition to a total of 478 yards. That means the Panthers have allowed 68.3 yards per game.
Mart is getting it done in all phases of the game, getting better and better each week. Numbers don’t lie. This Panther team is for real.