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KATY (Covering Katy News)—The Paetow Panthers are playing with confidence, and they demonstrated as much with a 48-7 win over Fort Bend Clements Thursday at Legacy Stadium. The win improves the Panthers to 3-0.

The Panthers scored on three of its five first half possessions to take command of the game. Paetow’s first score came on a one-yard run by junior fullback Randle Kelley with 4:39 in the first quarter.

Junior running back Damon Bankston scored on a 22-yard run with 10:31 in the second quarter, and on its next possession, senior running back Jonathan Jolly scored on a one-yard run. He finished the game with 92 yards on 14 carries.

Paetow coach B.J. Gotte said the Panthers went into the offseason hoping to improve their explosiveness and toughness.

“We had to become more explosive as an offense,” Gotte said. “Jonathan brought a level of toughness that we needed. He’s a hard-nosed, tough kid, and our kids gravitated to him immediately and look up to him. Brings that leadership, toughness, and explosiveness.”

Gotte also complimented Bankston’s performance.

“He’s a young kid, learning,” Gotte said. “He’s so versatile he can do a lot of things. That gives us the ability to put him in various places to take advantage of things, and win the one-on-ones, and turn those five-yard plays into 65-yard plays.”

Paetow failed to score on its opening drive, in which it missed a field goal, and on its last drive, on which time ran out in the first half.

Clements needed some trickery to get its only score. Senior quarterback John Perry threw a lateral pass to senior wide receiver Andrew Bottiglieri, who in turn completed a 31-yard scoring pass to senior wide receiver Caleb Guajardo. Senior kicker Dani Dimassi’s extra point made the score 21-7.

Other than that lone score, the Paetow defense did its job, holding Clements to only 209 total yards.

“The defensive staff have really done a good job preparing them,” Gotte said. “People are saying they’re playing aggressive, but I think they’re playing confident because they understand what they’re doing. They’re doing their job and they’re flying to the football.”

Paetow scored on its first two drives of the third quarter. Bankston scored both touchdowns, the first on a seven-yard run, the second on a 78-yard run. He finished the night with 153 yards on 10 carries.

Paetow scores through the air as well, scoring on a 69-yard pass from junior quarterback Harrison Sager to senior fullback Andrew Jurado with 8:36 remaining.

Senior running back Kenji Thomas finished the scoring with a 63-yard run with 5:27 remaining. He finished with 85 yards on five carries.

Gotte said the team’s goal is to make the playoffs, and he is not surprised with Paetow’s success so far this season.

“I knew we were better,” Gotte said. “I didn’t know how much better, and we’re finding out every week.”

The Rangers fall to 1-2 with the loss.

Paetow has a bye week before returning to action September 28 against Cleveland at Legacy Stadium.

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