GRAPEVINE — Keller Fossil Ridge coach Tony Baccarini was high on his team heading into this season, and if Thursday’s 45-7 rout of Grapevine in the opener is any indicator, he was right to be.
“Our kids played really hard, they played very physically on defense which is exciting to see,” Baccarini said. “We missed some opportunities in the first half offensively, so there’s work to do, but I love the atmosphere of our kids. They love each other, they play hard, so it’s exciting.”
Fossil Ridge (1-0) forced four turnovers in the first half, turning three into touchdowns to take a 21-0 lead. Panthers linebacker Lee Sudduth led the charge with two fumble recoveries.
Fossil Ridge had a little bit of everything working on offense as the Panthers rolled up 493 yards and 19 first downs, but wide receiver Ryan Parker stole the show. The 6-foot-2 senior caught three passes for 116 yards, ran one in from 19 yards after reversing field and completed a 30-yard pass on a trick play.
“He’s a special, special athlete and he didn’t play last year, but he’s one of the best basketball players in the area. I think he was having a good time out there,” Baccarini said.
Fossil Ridge running back Keshawn Mitchell also turned in a solid performance with 74 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 12 carries. His 1-yard plunge gave the Panthers a 14-0 lead with 9:44 left in the second quarter. His second TD came from 2 yards out on the opening drive of the second half to push Fossil Ridge’s lead to 31-7.
“It was really nice, we had the lead and were milking the clock,” Mitchell said. “It was a great experience. It was a good win for us.”
Cody Seidel pitched in with a 41-yard touchdown pass, a 34-yard field goal and two catches for 22 yards.
Fossil Ridge quarterback Jacob Gnacinski picked the Grapevine defense apart with 224 yards, one touchdown passing and 57 yards and a score on the ground.
“It’s very important to start off with a win like this,” Gnacinski said. “We’ve been working hard and we’re just brothers now. We all came together to get this win.”
The lone score for the Mustangs (0-1) came on a 16-yard strike from Adam Sandy to receiver Austin Parker with 5:28 remaining in the first half.
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JohnsonJarret
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