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August 1, 2014

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Healthy Palo Verde squad cruises to win

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Stephen R. Sylvanie/Special to the Home News

Panthers quarterback Kelly Zurowski (9) is pressured by Aggies defender Allen Jackson (20) during a game at Arbor View High School Friday.

Palo Verde at Arbor View

Football officials remove their caps during the national anthem Friday during pre-game ceremonies at Arbor View High School on Friday. Launch slideshow »

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It appears the only thing that can slow down Palo Verde’s football team is its own health.

Playing with all their skill position players for the first time in four weeks, the Panthers put on an offensive show Friday night to defeat host Arbor View 48-21.

Palo Verde had been without wide receiver Alex Bonczyk on Sept. 26 at Centennial, without running back Chaz Thomas and receiver Torin Harris for most its Oct. 3 game at Cimarron-Memorial, and without quarterback Kelly Zurowski, running back Sidney Hodge and Harris against Shadow Ridge on Oct. 10.

But the entire Panther cast was healthy and making big plays against Arbor View.

“We got this nice shiny gun and we had all our bullets in it tonight,” Palo Verde coach Darwin Rost said. “It’s nice having all those weapons, especially after the last three weeks when we didn’t have them all. Our goal is to get better every game and I thought the last three weeks we weren’t doing that because we were dinged up. But we really took this game seriously.”

Thomas led the Panthers with 108 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns. Hodge gained 78 yards on eight carries, and Zurowski ran for a touchdown and completed all four of his passes for 111 yards, 79 of which were to Bonczyk.

And Harris, whose main position is cornerback, scored touchdowns on two of the three times he carried the ball on offense.

“When you have Torin Harris who runs a 4.3 (40-yard dash), Sidney runs a 4.4, Chaz runs a 4.5, Bonczyk runs a 4.5 and (Tyrone) Blake runs a 4.6, if you get them in the open field they’ll make plays with their speed,” Rost said. “We have a lot of plays for those certain types of kids.”

Palo Verde scored on its second play when Blake took a handoff 88 yards for a touchdown while outrunning three Arbor View defenders.

Arbor View’s Taylor Wooten answered with a 4-yard touchdown to tie the game before Zurowski put Palo Verde up again with a 1-yard quarterback keeper early in the second quarter. Wooten evened the score again on a 57-yard touchdown, but the Panthers went up for good on a 15-yard touchdown run by Harris with just less than three minutes remaining in the half.

Thomas added another score on a 6-yard run with 17 seconds left before the intermission to make it 28-14, and the route was on.

Palo Verde opened the second half with a 56-yard touchdown run by Harris followed by a 53-yard score by Thomas on Palo Verde’s next series to make it 41-14.

“Coach always talks about getting 2 and 3 yards and keep punching it real hard and then the plays will just start to break eventually,” Thomas said. “We just did that. Arbor View is a good team but we just came out here and executed this week.”

Unlike in the first half, Arbor View’s offense couldn’t keep pace with Palo Verde in the second. After gaining 144 yards in the first half, Wooten could only muster 28 in the second. Whenever the Aggies gained yardage in the second half, it seemed the Panthers defense would hit them for a loss on the next play.

Christopher Drexel can be reached at 990-8929 or [email protected].

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