With the realignment of teams in Class-B football, Jefferson High's season-opening game against Whitehall didn't count toward the conference standings. But the Panthers still made it matter, dominating from start to finished in a 35-14 win.

It was a great night for football, and a large number of fans from both schools turned out in Boulder to watch the game without the COVID restrictions that were in place last year.

The Panthers received the opening kickoff, and it did not take long for them to reach the end zone. A pass from Braden Morris to Joey Visser put the first points on the board just 5 minutes into the game, and a kick by Dylan Root made it 7-0.

Whitehall's first possession did not go well, ending in a punt. The Panthers took advantage, and with 3:18 left in the first quarter, Morris passed to Jake Genger in the end zone. Root's kick was good, and Jefferson was up 14-0.

The teams traded possession several times in the second quarter until Genger came up with a big interception and went untouched into the end zone with 6:46 left in the half to make it 21-0.

Whitehall got the ball to start the third quarter but, facing 4th down and 20 yards, had to punt again—and Visser returned the kick to the Whitehall 25-yard line. From there, Riley Stock ran to the 13-yard line, Morris made it to the 1-yard line on a keeper, and Root took it in for another TD with 8:29 left in the third. The Panthers added another 6 points on another pass from Morris to Visser, Root's kick was good, and it was 35-0 after three quarters.

With the mercy rule in effect, the running clock was on and the Panthers took out its starters. The Trojans took advantage, and with 2:45 left they were able to score to make it 35-7. The Panthers returned the kickoff for a touchdown but a clipping penalty brought the ball back and negated the 6 points. Whitehall was able to use the clock and scored again to make the final score 35-14.

For the game, Morris passed for three touchdowns and 123 yards. Visser had two touchdowns and 55 yards receiving, and Genger added two touchdowns—one on his interception—and 29 yards receiving. Root rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown. Wade Rykal led the Panther defense with a sack and 11 tackles.

This Friday, the Panthers will travel to Cut Bank for another non-conference game. It has been a lot of years since these two teams have met in football, so it should be interesting. Game time is 7 p.m. 

Cross-country

The cross-country "hoofers" traveled to Bozeman last week to compete in the large Belgrade invitational meet. A good day for running saw Renea Parker complete the course in 19:38, with Izzy Morris following at 26:34 and Austie May at 29:14.

In the boys race, Logan Gillmore led the Panthers with a time of 19:44. Dylan Mikesell clocked in at 19:54, Luke Mest at 21:06, Mike Emter at 21:51 and Matthew Zelenka at 25:15. This week, the cross-country teams will be back in Bozeman for a meet on Saturday.

Volleyball

The Jefferson volleyball teams were in Three Forks last Saturday. The C team began the action with a four-set win, 25-16, 25-12, 11-15, 15-5. And the JV team won in three, 25-16, 25-10, 15-10.

The varsity Panthers started their first set 3-1 but the Wolves came back to go up 8-3 before a sneak kill by Dakota Edmisten stopped their run and started one for the Panthers. Two blocks by Baylee Toney, a kill by Rachel Van Blaricom, an ace by Sydney Mace, two more kills by Van Blaricom, and back-to-back aces by Mace put the Panthers up 15-10. Gracie Leiva put over a kill and Edmisten added a hard kill to give the Panthers a 25-13 win.

The Panthers jumped out to a 13-2 lead in the second set, went up 20-10 on Toney's ace, and cruised to a 25-11 win. The third set saw the Panthers go up 20-6 with a block by Edmisten and an ace by Van Blaricom. A block by Kaydence Lingle made it 23-6 and the Panthers took the sweep with a 25-10 win. 

Edmisten led the Panthers with 15 kills. Leiva added 12 assists, Emma McCauley had 14 digs, Toney made 7 blocks and Mace served up 3 aces.

This week, the volleyball teams were set to play Livingston on Tuesday. They travel to Broadwater on Thursday and host Sweet Grass County on Saturday before heading to Manhattan on Sept. 14.    

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