By Matthew Selman
Friday Night Lights are back for another year at Benicia High School, and it started off with a bang. A huge win against Fairfield High with a final score of 47-8, proved to the doubters that Benicia isn’t messing around this season. Despite having new starters in nearly every position, the team found their stride and was able to put up a strong game offensively and defensively. The Panther football team scored an impressive 41 points in the first half, scoring 28 points in the first quarter alone. Morgan De Lago, playing on both sides of the football, ran the football for a 53 yard touchdown in the first 30 seconds of the 22-23 season. This was the start of a long night for Fairfield’s football team. Quarterback Dean Quiambao threw his first varsity touchdown pass to Benicia sophomore Darrell Hurd. Just two minutes later, Truedell Minnieweather Jr. received a 44 yard punt return, and took it to the endzone. Ending the first quarter with 28 points. The first quarter wasn’t the only explosive quarter for Benicia, Morgan De Lago received a hand off yet again, taking it all the way into the endzone for a 54 yard touchdown. De Lago had 108 all-purpose yards on just 4 carries in the first half, making it a 35-0 game.
With 7:40 seconds left in the half, Fairfield finally decided to show up, Falcon quarterback Isiah Nolan threw a quick pass to Josh Tucker, Tucker found a lane and took it in for a 76 yard touchdown. That was the only threat Fairfield possessed. Just minutes before halftime, starting quarterback Roman Lavezzo escaped the pocket and fired a 9 yard touchdown pass to Jayden Toliver, increasing the lead. The Panthers were not only successful on offense, but their defense was also stellar. The Benicia defense held Fairfield to just 110 total yards offensively, and had 4 turnovers throughout the game, with 2 interceptions. This defense controlled the pace of the game and put substantial amounts of pressure on the Falcon offense. After halftime, Benicia coaches wanted to see what their alternates had to offer, putting in second string players at almost every position. The Panther defense still proved to be worthy as they allowed no touchdowns in the second half.
Friday’s game proved that the Panthers have threatening weapons on the football field, their speed as a team is unmatched to many of the teams in the league. If the Panthers can utilize their speed and continue to push harder than the opponents on every play, this could be a prosperous season.