Spotting visiting Hammond numerous early scoring opportunities, the Pallotti Panthers were fortunate in several ways as they won their 15th consecutive game over two years by shutting out the Golden Bears, 19-0, yesterday at Bowie State University.
The Panthers survived a first-half scare to make first-game winners of new coach Warren Hall and sophomore quarterback Jason Boseck, a transfer from Bowie High School. After a rough first half, Boseck settled down to complete all four of his second-half passes, including one for a fourth-quarter touchdown.
In Boseck, Pallotti hopes to have found the answer to questions raised by the departure of graduated star quarterback Craig Ray. Given a two-touchdown lead early in the second half, Boseck didn't have to throw at all in the third quarter.
Hammond quarterback Cliff Epps, making the transition from wide receiver, didn't have the luxury of a lead and played under much tougher pressure. He completed only five of 21 passes with three interceptions.
Neither team could mount a sustained offense in the first half. The Golden Bears opened their first two series in Pallotti territory, but could manage only seven yards in six plays and had to punt each time. On the third Hammond series, Epps overthrew a wide-open Kelvin Stevens behind the Pallotti defense.
Another missed opportunity by Hammond early in the second quarter allowed Pallotti to seize control of the game. Epps found O'Mar Williams open in the end zone, but the senior running back juggled an over-the-shoulder catch as he fell over the endline.
The Panthers then ran off a 10-play, 68-yard drive that put them in the lead for good. The highlight was a 47-yard pass from Boseck to wingback Jeff Warren, which put Pallotti on Hammond's 8-yard line. Four plays later, Scott Salkeld carried over from the 1 for the only points the Panthers would need.