FLOWER MOUND — The turnaround of the Van Alstyne Panthers will continue for another week after a 35-8 win over Boyd in a Class 2A Division I Region II bi-district game at Neal S. Wilson Stadium on Friday night.

FLOWER MOUND — The turnaround of the Van Alstyne Panthers will continue for another week after a 35-8 win over Boyd in a Class 2A Division I Region II bi-district game at Neal S. Wilson Stadium on Friday night.


After a 1-9 season a year ago, Van Alstyne (7-4) will advance to the area round and face Malakoff at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Hanby Stadium in Mesquite.


With the Yellowjackets (4-7) determined to stop the Panthers’ running game, Van Alstyne took to the air for key plays in the first half as it got off to a 21-0 start.


"Everybody knows we are going to try to run the ball and when they loaded the box we just decided to loosen them up a little." Van Alstyne head coach Mikeal Miller said.


Alex Phillips threw for 170 yards and three touchdowns in a game that got out of hand quickly for the Jackets.


A Phillips to Shawn Wheeler pass of 19 yards set up the first Van Alstyne touchdown as Phillips capped a 33-yard march with a 1-yard dive that started after Jake Haker had recovered a Boyd fumble.


Boyd came right back on its next possession as Fino Cardona got free for a 51-yard run to the Van Alstyne 26-yard line. After Cardona picked up a couple of yards, three consecutive sacks ended the threat.


The two teams’ exchanged real estate at midfield for the next few possessions before Van Alstyne took over at the Boyd 47-yard line with six minutes left in the half.


After runs by Dont’e Kehler and Phillips had moved the ball to the Boyd 20-yard line, Phillips connected with Kehler on a swing pass to the left side and the speedy sophomore had the second score of the night.


A third-down pass attempt by Clay Barnett was tipped on Boyd’s ensuing series and intercepted by Bryce Himmelreich and returned 34 yards for the touchdown.


"My teammate tipped the ball and God gave me that opportunity to help our team," Himmelreich said. "It was awesome, when I got to the end zone I just fell down."


Boyd took a blow to its offensive game plan when Cardona, a 1,500-yard rusher for the season, was injured on the kickoff following the pick-six and did not return to the contest.


The Panthers wasted no time it getting back to the end zone at the start of the second half. Taking over at their own 44-yard line, it took just six plays to push the lead to 28-0.


A 21-yard pass from Phillips to Wheeler got the drive started and a 23-yard TD pass to Kearon Redmon capped it just two minutes into the period. Phillips scrambled both left and right to avoid the Boyd rush before spotting Redmon alone in the corner of the end zone.


Boyd put together a drive following the Van Alstyne score, marching to the Panther 28-yard line, before the defense held.


Van Alstyne turned back to its running game in the next possession as they drove 72 yards, and used up most of the third quarter clock, to get its final touchdown when Wheeler caught a 19-yard pass from Phillips.


The Yellowjackets avoided the shutout with just over two minutes left on a 74-yard touchdown run by Qualynn Wells. Sonny McCarmack ran in the two-point conversion.