Panthers prevail over Tigers in playoffs

The Mehlville Senior High School football team defeated the Oakville Tigers 28-25 Friday night in the first round of the Class 6 District 1 playoffs. In their last meeting Oct. 11, the Tigers prevailed over Mehlville in a 35-23 comeback victory. Above, Oakvilles Qian Johnson, left, is all over Mehlville quarterback Brendan Moore.

Photo by Megan LeFaivre

The Mehlville Senior High School football team defeated the Oakville Tigers 28-25 Friday night in the first round of the Class 6 District 1 playoffs. In their last meeting Oct. 11, the Tigers prevailed over Mehlville in a 35-23 comeback victory. Above, Oakville’s Qian Johnson, left, is all over Mehlville quarterback Brendan Moore.

By Robert Chalupny

The Mehlville Senior High School varsity football team upset the Oakville Tigers 28-25 in the first round of the Class 6 District 1 playoffs Friday night.

The 6-4 Tigers had momentum on their side as they came into the game with a four-game winning streak, including a regular season win over 4-6 Mehlville. The Panthers had lost three in a row to end their regular season.

Mehlville head coach Kent Heinemann told the Call his players are glad to be playing in week 11 of the season.

“It feels great. The kids are really excited about it,” he said. “We planned a practice schedule for all next week just in case, and the kids are excited.

“I think the kids came out and they got after it right away. They played good defense. We created some turnovers on defense that really helped us out. We moved the ball when we needed to. I thought it was all around a really good game.”

Mehlville’s veteran quarterback Brendan Moore started the scoring with a 5-yard run to put the Panthers on the board with 7:27 to go in the first quarter.

Mehlville’s Matt Everding also ran one in the end zone to close the first quarter.

Oakville got on the board in the second quarter with a 6-yard by D’Jaun Reaves run, but Moore answered with his second touchdown of the night late in the second.

Mehlville was in complete control of the game going into halftime with a commanding 21-6 lead, but Oakville was not about to give up as the Tigers began a second-half comeback — something they have done all season.

For Oakville, Reaves scored his second touchdown, while Carvon Robinson and Arsante Conners each had one to outscore the Panthers in the second half 19-7. But that wasn’t quite enough.

While the Tigers earned their rally points, Heinemann did say his players were wearing down a little bit as they were closing in on the end of the contest.

“We’ve got a lot of two-way starters,” the Mehlville coach said. “We’ve got a lot of kids that play both ways and we kind of started running out of gas a little bit late in the third quarter.

“But it was really cool because I know those kids were tired and they still sucked it up and played really good defense and won that game for us.”

To get to week 12, the Panthers will have to claw their way past one of the top teams in the Suburban West, 8-2 Lafayette.

The two teams are comparable offensively as they are separated by only 30 points in total scoring on the season, but the Lancer defense has allowed 130 fewer points. Heinemann knows it’s going to be a battle, but believes his team has a shot.

“Lafayette is good. Coach (Boyd) Manne always puts a good team out on the field. … We haven’t played them in two years, I think, so it’s going to be nice to see them again,” he said. “We’ve seen them on film and they are a good team. We are going to have our hands full, but we are playing in week 11, so we feel like we have a chance.”