VAN ALSTYNE — In a battle that could have been between last year's district champion and the 5-3A (I) winner this year, the Pottsboro Cardinals continued their perfect season with a 48-27 victory over the Van Alstyne Panthers.
Cy Shope ran 23 times for 157 yards and five touchdowns to go with 3 catches for 76 yards and a TD as Pottsboro (6-0, 2-0) put an end to the 11-game district winning streak that Van Alstyne (2-4, 1-1) had produced dating back to the 2017 season.
The Cardinals snagged momentum early in the first quarter with a scoring opening drive. Quarterback Braden Plyler and running back Cy Shope went back on forth running the ball for nine plays that covered 71 yards. Shope picked up his first score for Pottsboro with a one-yard rushing touchdown in the middle of the frame.
The Panthers responded with quarterback Tymothe Rosenthal firing off passes for a total of 56 yards on the Panthers' 71-yard scoring drive. Drelin Davis set up in the wildcat position and took the direct snap for a one-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7. Davis totaled five catches for 114 yards while Rosenthal was 13-of-25 passing for 207 yards and two TDs and Jake Carroll led the running game with 14 carries for 90 yards.
Van Alstyne took its only lead at the start of the second quarter after a botched punt by the Cardinals was secured by the Panthers on the one-yard line. It only took a strong run by Zachary Moncier to capitalize on the mistake and pick up a 14-7 lead less than a minute and a half into the stanza.
“We didn't play great, but Van Alstyne had a lot to do with that. They are a great football team.” Pottsboro head coach Matt Poe said. “The first half we snapped a punt over the punter's head and drop a sure touchdown pass, which are tough to do against a good team, but luckily we were able to get through it.”
The Cardinals then placed themselves firmly in the driver's seat. Pottsboro marched 66 yards in 10 plays in their very next drive and Plyler put the ball in the end zone himself with another one-yard rushing touchdown, tying the game back up.
Pottsboro scored again on its next possession with a 47-yard drive that was capped off with a five-yard touchdown run by Shope with 3:53 remaining in the half and the 21-14 advantage stayed that way into the break.
The Cardinals continued to pad their lead after half-time, scoring on the first drive of the third quarter. It was all Shope on this drive with the running back picking up 60 yards on the ground and another touchdown with a two-yard run.
Pottsboro snagged another touchdown before the end of the third off one big play, a pass from Plyler to Shope that was good for a 52-yard touchdown reception that allowed the Cardinals to take a 35-14 lead going into the final quarter. Plyler was 9-of-18 passing for 148 yards and an interception and ran 14 times for 74 yards.
Pottsboro scored immediately in the fourth after a flubbed punt set it up at the 17-yard line. A six-yard touchdown run by Shope came on the first play of the quarter and he wrapped up his night with a one-yard scoring run with 7:37 left for a 48-21 lead.
Ethan Litzkow caught a 20-yard TD pass from Rosenthal less than a minute after Shope's first score of the fourth and Van Alstyne picked up its final touchdown of the game on a 14-yard pass from Rosenthal to Cam Montgomery with 4:27 remaining.
“We lost a huge district game, which is always disappointing.” Panthers head coach Mikeal Miller said. “But we had challenged our kids to come out and play 48 minutes of physical football, and I feel like we did that. We have some things to fix, but I'm very proud of the way our kids came out and battled for four quarters.”