GRANT CITY, Mo. — The Worth County Tigers have two losses this season, one to Stanberry and the other to the Pattonsburg Panthers. The Tigers avenged their loss to Stanberry last week in the quarterfinals. They had the opportunity to do the same this week against the Panthers and did so in a dominating fashion. The Tigers took down the Panthers 56-0 on a snowy day in Grant City.
“They’re a great football team and anytime you have a chance to win a game like this is great, but we didn’t see this coming,” Worth County coach Chris Healy said.
The Pattonsburg offense looked lost from the very first snap of the game. The Panthers started from their own seven after their return man fumbled the kickoff. Quarterback Steven Willhite fumbled the first snap on offense and the next two plays netted zero yards. Special teams continued to be a struggle as their punt was then blocked for a safety.
The Worth County offense had no issue moving the ball and that was mostly due to running back/quarterback Caleb Parman. Parman finished the day with 17 carries for 179 yards and six touchdowns. The first touchdown came after the safety and a failed onside kick attempt by the Panthers. Worth County drove right down the field and Parman capped it off with a 14-yard touchdown run.
“Caleb is a guy who showed up in camp and ran like this, ran like this all year and today he found that other gear,” Healy said.
The Panthers had no answers for what the Worth County defense was showing them and carried the ball twice for no gain and then threw an incomplete pass on third down and again had to punt. Worth County wasted no time, starting with a 20-yard run from running back Andrew Alarcon and then a 30-yard touchdown run from Parman.
Willhite came into the semifinal game completing 69 percent of his passes, but it took until their third drive of the game for him to get his first completion. The drive also included the Panthers only first down of the first quarter and that came on a pass interference call on the Tigers. Willhite completed his second pass of the game on third and 12 — unfortunately for Pattonsburg, it was to Parman.
Parman continued to blow through the Panther defense for his third touchdown of the game. The 16-yard score gave the Tigers a 26-0 lead. Pattonsburg’s offense came into the game averaging 63 points, but could do nothing in the snow against the Worth County defense. Their fourth drive ended with a turnover on downs.
“Coming in we knew the weather would be on our side and we knew we would have to get after Willhite,” Tiger linebacker Isaac Alarcon said. “I felt like we did a pretty good job of getting after him and it’s hard to pass in this weather.”
The Tigers faced some adversity on their next drive as the Panther defense forced a fourth and two from the Pattonsburg five yard line. But again, they had no answers for stopping Parman and the Worth County rushing attack. Parman scored on the fourth down attempt to make it 32-0 and that is when the wheels came off for the Panthers.
Pattonsburg switched quarterbacks and put wide receiver Cameron Jones in to try and light a spark. But Jones, like Willhite, was unable to get the offense moving. The Panthers chose to punt on fourth down and for the second time in the game, Worth County blocked a punt, but this time it was recovered by Isaac Alarcon for a touchdown.
The Panthers showed a sign of life on their next possession as Willhite connected with wide receiver Patrick Cowley for a 28-yard gain. The Tiger defense quickly put that play behind them and forced another fourth down attempt from Pattonsburg. Willhite attempted to rush for the first down but was stopped short by a group of Tigers.
Parman had his longest rush of the game after the turnover on downs as he scampered for a 51-yard touchdown—making it a 48-0 lead.
“Our blockers were amazing, they were getting every guy and I just had to get behind one of them to go all the way,” Parman said.
Worth County forced a punt on the next drive and Parman then scored from 11 yards out for his sixth score of the game. The Tigers had another chance at the end zone near the end of the half, but quarterback Jacob New was intercepted on Worth County’s only passing attempt in the game.
Pattonsburg was unable to capitalize on the turnover and the Tigers ended the game with three kneel downs. Other than one negative rush by Parman, it was the only time in the game Worth County lost yardage.
Willhite finished the game completing just six of his 19 passes for 57 yards. The Panthers had just 60 yards of total offense. This from an offense that averaged 455 yards per game this season.
Andrew Alarcon had nine carries in the game for 55 yards and wide receiver Bryant McCord added 11 on the ground. Alarcon, McCord and Parman were the only three players to gain yardage for the Tigers.
Worth County will face undefeated Mound City next Saturday in Columbia for the 8-man state title. The two teams have combined to win 9 of the last 17 state championships.
“We just got to play hard,” Parman said. “These last two weeks we have played the hardest we’ve played all year and it’s shown on the field.”