The Fort Stockton Panthers overcame a sluggish offensive first half to defeat the visiting Sweetwater Mustangs, 36-23, Friday night on Senior Night at Panthers Stadium.
With the loss, Sweetwater (1-4, 1-7) is eliminated from the playoff picture.
Fort Stockton (3-2, 7-2) can lock up is first playoff berth and third place in district with a win Nov. 9 at Lamesa (3-2, 3-6) in the district finale. The two teams enter the game tied for third in district behind champion Greenwood (6-0, 8-2) and Snyder (4-1, 7-2).
Sweetwater took the opening kickoff and mounted a 18-play, 80-yard drive that lasted 6:20. The Mustangs converted two fourth-down plays, included Alex Gallegos' 2-yard touchdown run.
The Panthers, meanwhile ran just five plays in the first quarter, punting after four plays and then losing a fumble on the first play of the next series.
Sweetwater, meanwhile, drove into Panthers' territory on three of four drives in the first half, reaching the Panthers' 7, 42 and 27. End drive ended with the Panthers making a fourth-down stop and prevented the game from getting out of hand.
On its final drive of the first half, Fort Stockton's offense used a short field to get into the end zone and tie the game.
Set up by a defensive stop at the Panthers' 42, Fort Stockton covered the 58 yards in 8 plays, capped by Nick Johnson's 14-yard pass to Brian Gonzalez. Cole Daggett hit the PAT. to make it 7-7 with 3:10 left in the half.
SW: Alex Gallegos 2-yard run. Andres Neri PAT. 7-0 5:40
FS: Nick Johnson 14-yard pass to Brian Gonzalez. Cole Daggett PAT. 7-7 3:10
FS: Nick Johnson 23-yard pass to Brian Gonzalez. Cole Daggett PAT. 14-7 8:34
SW: Leo Holsey 2-yard run. Holsey to Tony Padilla 2-pt. conversion. 15-14 3:21
FS: Pedro Vazquez 11-yard run. Cole Daggett PAT, 21-15 :39
FS: Nick Johnson 7-yard run. Johnson 2-pt. conversion run. 29-15 10:28
SW: Leo Holsey 54-yard pass to Tony Rodriguez. Holsey to Mario Talevera p2-pt. pass. 29-23 9:46.
FS: Iram Villareal 29-yard punt return. Cole Daggett PAT, 36-23 5:29
Just an FYI: Fort Stockton is now 12-54-1 all-time vs. Monahans