Panthers ready for big game against New Caney


Kathleen Ortiz

Seniors Hayden Park and Sam Johansen celebrate together after defeating Porter on Sept. 29. They have helped lead the team to a 3-0 district record. They will face New Caney this weekend, a team that is also 3-0 in district play.

Nick Farace, Editor-In-Chief

The stakes will be high tonight when the Panthers of Kingwood Park look to remain undefeated in district play as they travel to Texan Drive Stadium to take on the New Caney Eagles. All eyes will be on KPARK’s defense as they face Zion Childress, a junior QB with multiple offers from D1 schools.

The Panther defense, led by seniors Will Smoot and Hayden Park, will look to lock down key receivers and attack New Caney’s stout offensive line. Last week, Childress threw for 123 yards and rushed for 150 yards behind an offensive line that has been key to New Caney’s 3-0 record in district play. Panthers like Park (8 sacks in 6 games) and senior linebacker Clay Sowell will need to get to Childress quickly in hopes of getting quick three-and-outs. Smoot, who’s emerged as a key defender in the secondary with three picks in six games, will look to continue his dominance against New Caney receiver Gerome Henry who averages 26.1 yards per catch.

As the season continues to heat up, so does the KPARK offense led by a tight group of senior players. Senior QB Sam Johansen has found his groove, throwing for 351 yards and 5 touchdowns last week against Galena Park, and giving his receivers opportunities to make great plays. Receivers Tylan Johnson (Senior) and Canen Adrian (Junior) caught a combined 15 passes for 123 yards and 143 yards respectively. Senior running back Dalton Roger has risen to the occasion, rushing for 151 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. The return of senior OL Benicio Cancino has rejuvenated the KPARK offense, allowing Johansen more time to look for his receivers and more holes for Roger to get through to the open field.

The key to the Panthers’ undefeated district run has been their grit and willingness to play and compete for all 60 minutes. Their constant pressure on defense wears down opposing offenses week in and week out; and a fast, explosive offense has given KPARK an advantage over defenses that are often caught sleeping on the outsides.

After rallying back from a 17 point deficit to beat Porter and scoring a combined 103 points while allowing only 14 in the last two games, the Panthers prove that they are no team to be messed with. The lights will be bright at Texan Drive as a Panther football team that is hungry for a playoff run takes the field against Childress and the Eagles.

“They’re just another obstacle on our path,” says Park.