Daniel Munoz returned a punt 59 yards for a touchdown on Mead’s opening possession, and the Panthers rolled from there to snap a four-game losing streak with a 37-6 Greater Spokane League football victory over Rogers on Friday night at Albi Stadium.
Matt Stapleton kicked a 31-yard field goal in the second quarter after a six-minute drive, and the Panthers (4-4) would have all the points they would need against the Pirates (0-8).
Later in the quarter, the Panthers scored twice in a span of 19 seconds on two defensive plays.
The first score came on Sam Johnson’s 15-yard interception return of a Cole Shafer pass. The second resulted from a 15-yard fumble recovery and rumble to the end zone by Jordan Anderson to give Mead a 23-0 lead at the half.
The Panthers’ first score of the second half came off an 80-yard drive that culminated with a 5-yard run around the left edge by AJ Layton to widen the gap to 30-0.
Rogers responded with a 70-yard drive and scored on a 2-yard burst up the middle by James Welty.
Mead rounded out the scoring early in the fourth quarter when Guilian Luchini broke through a slew of defenders up the left side and scampered the rest of the way for a 20-yard score.
Mead, which entered the game ranked third in the league in total defense, finds itself back at .500.
“Our defense has been stellar all year; we had a little bit of a letdown last week against Central Valley,” Panthers coach Sean Carty said. “They came at us pretty hard, and maybe that woke (the defense) up a little bit. But our defense has always played pretty sound football, so we watched some film, cleaned some things up and we got back to business.”
The offense had been struggling after several injuries to senior starters, but Carty hopes the way the Panthers turned it around Friday night will help them going forward.
“Hopefully, we’ve cleaned some things up offensively just from the first half to the second half,” Carty said.
“It’s about us getting our offense in gear and our kids believing in themselves and doing good things and being able to make plays.”
Both teams play at Albi on Halloween. Rogers, looking for its first win, will play Mt. Spokane in the early game. The Panthers will face league co-leader Ferris in the nightcap.