Providence set the tone for a dominant first-half performance right away Friday night on the road against archrival Ardrey Kell.
The Panthers, who won 31-13 despite being outscored 10-0 in the second half, led 21-0 early in the first quarter as the Providence offense put up points on each if its five first-half drives.
Panthers running back Brian Mattar’s 65-yard touchdown burst on the first play from scrimmage sparked a balanced attack led by quarterback Caleb York, who scored two first-quarter touchdowns on runs of 2 and 4 yards.
“That was huge,” York said. “We just came out, and we were fired up. This is a big rivalry, and it was really important that we came out and hit them in the mouth first. We needed to discourage them early.”
The Panthers’ defense held up its end of the bargain, yielding three first-half points. Providence’s defense forced a three-and-out on Ardrey Kell’s first drive. An interception by Providence linebacker Tyler Pistorio on the Knight’s second series set the Panthers’ offense up at the Ardrey Kell 26-yard line.
The second of York’s touchdown runs followed Pistorio’s pick, and the Panthers (5-3, 3-1 SoMeck 8) padded the lead in the second quarter on a 7-yard touchdown run by Mattar and a 38-yard field goal by John Biasucci 15 seconds before halftime for a commanding 31-3 lead.
But after the Panthers thoroughly dominated the first half, the Knights (4-4, 1-3) fought back after halftime, forcing two turnovers to record a second-half shutout. Ardrey Kell linebacker Will Sapyta came up with a third-quarter interception and a fourth-quarter fumble recovery.
Ultimately, though, the 28-point halftime deficit proved too much for Ardrey Kell to overcome.
Providence coach Justin Hardin said that even as he watched his team jump ahead early, he knew Ardrey Kell coach Adam Hastings and the Knights were unlikely to fold.
“Coach Hastings does a great job,” Hardin said. “They are coached well. They play extremely hard. So I knew going up that this game was far from over.”
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less