Matt Dillon has been around high school football long enough to know not every game is going to end in your favor.
In his debut as St. Edmond head coach Friday night, Dillon and the Gaels were topped by Panorama, 41-14, inside Dodger Stadium.
Moments after the final horn sounded, Dillon was quick to point out all the positives from the night.
“There is no question about it: we are going to get better,” he said. “We certainly haven’t peaked.”
Peyton Spangler had 73 yards rushing and a 42-yard score, Sean Newell added 72 yards and a 45-yard TD jaunt, and Sean Flattery ran for 59 yards to lead St. Edmond (0-1 overall).
The Panthers (1-0) were paced by third-year starting quarterback Luke South, as the junior passed for 204 yards, ran for 171 and had a hand in four scores.
South, who has passed for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, overcame a pair of early interceptions off batted balls by Jake Rossow. He completed six in a row in the first half and was 5-for-8 in the second half.
“That is a very good football player,” Dillon said of the junior quarterback for Panorama. “Watching film on him as a sophomore and now seeing him this year, he’s already gotten bigger and stronger. He has a very bright future ahead of himself.”
After Rossow’s interception in the first quarter, Newell darted 45 yards on third-and-11 for a score. The Panthers answered with a eight-play drive that ended with South hitting paydirt from 43 yards out.
Panorama scored 21 more points to take command of the game at halftime, picking up 14 first downs and 266 yards of total offense in the opening 24 minutes — with 229 of those yards coming from South.
“I thought our execution was okay, we just missed some things up front that hurt us,” Dillon said. “But we are going to miss some things up front because of our size. Our kids fought their tails off and are going to get better every single week.”
Spangler sped past the Panther defense for his scoring run early in the third, but Panorama again quickly answered with a three-play drive that culminated in another South score.
Along with the two 40-plus TD runs by Newell and Spangler, Flattery also broke free for a 32-yard run in the second half.
“Flattery ran the ball really well, Newell had some tough runs over the course of the game and Spangler ran hard,” Dillon said. “We had those big plays, but we have to have more of them. Plus, we aren’t the type of offense — yet — that can be in third-and-14 and pick it up. We’ve got to stay ahead of the chains and be in reasonable distance to make it.
“Overall, though, I’m happy with the kids and proud of their efforts. We have at least eight more games left and we are going to continue to work and continue to get better.”
Drew Schaeffer and Newell led the Gael defense with nine tackles each, with Flattery recording eight. Both Spangler and Eli Litwiller had six stops.
Jackson Bemrich recorded a sack and Bryce Anderson recovered a fumble.
St. Edmond hits the road for the first time next Friday when they travel to North Union. Last year, the Gaels posted a 12-0 victory over the Warriors in Armstrong.
Panorama takes on Manson Northwest Webster next week, which fell to Ogden last night, 40-18.
First Downs 7 23
Rushes-Yards 42-172 41-261
Passing 0 204
Comp-Att-Int 0-0-0 13-24-2
Total Offense 172 465
Punts-Avg. 7-32.5 0-0
Fumbles-Lost 4-1 3-2
Penalties-Yards 2-10 9-50
St. Edmond 6 0 0 8– 14
Panorama 6 21 14 0–41
St. Edmond — Sean Newell (45-yard run), 2:22 left in first. Conversion failed.
Panorama — Luke South (43-yard run), 0:00 left in first. Kick failed.
Panorama — Zach Rizzuti (24-yard pass from South), 8:24 left in second. Gracen Welburg kick.
Panorama — Trey Cobb (1-yard run), 4:47 left in second. Welburg kick.
Panorama — Welburg (19-yard pass from South), 2:45 left in second. Welburg kick.
St. Edmond — Peyton Spangler (42-yard run), 7:22 left in third. Spangler run.
Panorama — South (1-yard run), 6:35 left in third. Welburg kick.
Panorama — Wyatt Clark (3-yard run), 1:51 left in third. Welburg kick.INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
Rushing — St. Edmond: Peyton Spangler 12-73, Sean Newell 16-72, Sean Flattery 7-59, Jake Rossow 3-(minus-9), Eli Litwiller 3-(minus-10), Team 1-(minus-13). Panorama: Luke South 17-171, Trey Cobb 8-40, Alejandro Mendez 7-26, Zach Rizzuti 1-13, Wyatt Appleseth 1-12, Wyatt Clark 6-0, Kyle McClatchey 1-(minus-1).
Passing — St. Edmond: Eli Litwiller 0-2-0-0. Panorama: Luke South 13-24-2-204, Alejandro Mendez 0-0-0-0.
Receiving — Panorama: Gracen Welburg 4-86, Zach Rizzuti 3-60, Allias Stahl 2-42, Trey Cobb 2-23, Preston Walker 1-3, Jacob Holwegner 1-0.