Pasadena enjoyed a mini Dena Bowl on October 5 as the 10U Panthers hosted the 10U Bucs at Loopers Field, and the Panthers emphatically held it down at home with a 19-0 win to improve to 7-0 on the season.
Two long touchdown runs by Braylon Tucker and a rushing score by Alan McDonald powered the Panthers, who stayed undefeated in the Anne Arundel County Youth Football Association 10U Central Division.
Head coach Tony Klapaska’s postgame comments centered on process over results.
“This whole year we’ve been focused on character-first football,” Klapaska said. “So we’ve really been focused on the attitude of the player, not necessarily the win or the loss. Win, lose or draw, I tell them, ‘I care about how you play the game. It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about how you play the game.’ We want to play it with integrity and we want to play it with sportsmanship, and we want to play the game the way it’s supposed to be played: hard-nosed football.”
The Panthers executed well on their coach’s charge right from the outset against the Bucs. Tucker had a 15-yard run to get into the red zone on the Panthers’ opening drive, and McDonald ran up the middle from 5 yards out to give the Panthers a 6-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Tucker took a handoff and juked his way out of a backfield full of Bucs tacklers before blazing 55 yards up the sideline for another touchdown. The Bucs’ Corey Malloy made a great tackle on the extra-point try to keep the score at 12-0.
In the third quarter, McDonald broke a trio of tackles to gain 10 yards for an improbable first down, and Tucker took the next handoff and charged up the middle for a 45-yard touchdown. On the extra-point try, ball carrier Caden Herzberger benefitted from good blocking and lowered his shoulder into a Bucs defender at the goal line to earn the point and make the score 19-0.
The Bucs produced some playmaking in the remainder of the game as Nathaniel Nelson made a great interception on an overthrown Panthers pass, showing tremendous body control and ball-hawking by turning and making a break to the right spot. The Bucs’ Malloy, Mason Leichling and Jack Foster all produced runs of 10 or more yards for first downs.
But the Panthers had the final say. Alex McDonald sliced through the Bucs’ defensive line for a sack, and Herzberger recovered a fumble to allow the hosts to wind down the clock and cement the victory.
The Bucs team of Malloy, Nelson, Leichling, Foster, Dylan Williams, Colton Meirick, Elijah Robinson, Dylan Powell, Landon Perkins, Tanner Henry, Adonis Scott, Evan Henry, Tyler McConville, Jacob Walter, Caron Scott, Jaden Wells, Carter Forster, Jack Zipp, Eden James, Travis Turner, Cole Harrison and Bennett Martinez fell to 3-4 overall.
The Panthers, who are Tucker, Herzberger, Alan McDonald, Alex McDonald, Dennis Bailey, Brodie Turc, Wyatt Thompson, Dakari Bailey, Lucas Rothenhoefer, Brodie Collins, Nolan Behler, Mason Mombard, Jayden Humphries, Eli Buckmaster, Chase Fulton, Jake Handy, Brandt Widmer, Cooper English, Trace Klapaska, Garrett Michalak and Josh Morton, have an offense that is gelling and a collective will for everyone to star in their roles.
“Our O-line executed their blocking, and they did a wonderful job,” said coach Klapaska. “All the fullbacks made their key blocks, and all the running backs hit their holes. You didn’t really see it today, but our passing offense is pretty good as well. But the whole team did excellent. Everybody carried out their assignments, and it was a total team win today.”