Week 2: Derby dominance: Panthers cruise to 50-17 win over Newton (Sept. 10)
The Panthers had to wait longer than most to return to the field. After having issues locking an opponent for the first game of the season, Derby took out its anger in week two with a dominant 50-17 win over Newton. The offense reached the 500-yard mark with a total of 546 yards. Junior running back Dylan Edwards, senior quarterback Mercer Thatcher, and sophomore running back Derek Hubbard combined for six rushing touchdowns in the first game in the new Panther Stadium.
Week 3: Panther defense steps up in 44-36 win over Bishop Carroll (Sept. 17)
Junior linebacker Kade Sheldon’s 30-yard pick-six was vital in the week three nail-biter against Bishop Carroll. The defense stepped up in big moments to force six Bishop Carroll turnovers, but it was not all sunshine and rainbows as the Golden Eagles finished with 393 yards of offense. The Panthers scored in all three phases of the game, including a 93-yard kick return by Edwards. Mercer Thatcher threw a touchdown to senior tight end Drake Thatcher and rushed for two touchdowns.
Week 4: Derby rides 70 point first half to defeat Salina South 77-7 (Sept. 24)
The defense came to play from the first snap against Salina South. The offense got short field on every offensive drive and gave the Panthers a 70-0 lead at halftime. Sophomore defensive back Damaria’e Baker had two interceptions, and senior defensive back Brian Murph III recovered two fumbles, including a 31-yard scoop and score. Sophomore Braxton Clark rounded out the scoring with a 47-yard run in the second half.
Week 5: Classic ground attack leads Derby to 55-6 win over Hutchinson (Oct. 1)
Seven different Panthers found the end zone in a 55-6 rout over Hutchinson. Mercer Thatcher rushed for two touchdowns and threw a pair of touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Cayden Brown and junior wide receiver Travon Rose were the benefactors of the passing touchdowns. After leading 7-0 in the first quarter, Derby caught fire with a 28 point second quarter. The Panther defense allowed only 140 yards of total offense with two turnovers.
Week 6: Derby cruises past Campus in 70-21 win (Oct. 8)
Nineteen offensive plays, 70 points and 546 total yards. Despite trailing 7-0 after Campus took the opening kickoff 92-yards for a touchdown, the Panthers left no doubt about who owns the all-time series. The Colts gave up six touchdowns on plays over 45 yards. Edwards and Hubbard both had 80-yard touchdown runs. Mercer Thatcher went 4-4 passing for 152 yards and two touchdowns. The defense also joined the party with a pick-six by sophomore Caden Riojas and a scoop and score by junior linebacker Roman Boden.
Week 7: Simply A-Maize-ing: Derby survives 42-41 shootout against Maize (Oct. 15)
The Panther defense sprinted off the field all smiles following an interception on a two-point conversion to seal a 42-41 victory over Maize in what might have been the game of the year. After trailing 21-7 in the first quarter to junior quarterback Avery Johnson and the Eagles, the Panthers scored 28 unanswered to take a 35-21 lead. The Eagles fought back and tied the ballgame with an 11-yard touchdown pass. Then, Edwards put the Panthers up with a 23-yard run, and senior placekicker Scott Simmons hit the crucial extra point to lead 42-35 late in the game. Johnson marched Maize down the field and threw a 16-yard touchdown pass with 38 seconds remaining. The Eagles tried to win the game but were denied by the Derby defense. Mercer Thatcher and Edwards had three touchdowns apiece.
Week 8: Welcome to the Dylan show: Edwards scores six touchdowns in 52-14 rout (Oct. 22)
Dylan Edwards found the end zone on his first five touches that all started with an 80-yard run. Edwards finished the night with 276 yards on 11 carries with six touchdowns. Thatcher was the only player not named Edwards to find the end zone. Simmons got on the board with a 25-yard field goal. The Panther offense had 437 total yards, including a 100-yard passing night by Thatcher. The crazy thing is, this wasn’t Edward’s biggest night of the year.
Week 9: Panthers stay golden in 63-9 win over Wichita Southeast (Oct. 29)
Top-seeded Derby did not mess around in the opening round of the 6A high school football playoffs. Facing the winless Wichita Southeast, the Panthers outscored the Golden Buffaloes 56-6 at halftime. All three phases of the game reached the end zone with an 83-yard kick return by Hubbard, a 96-yard punt return by Edwards and a 33-yard pick-six by Brian Murph III.
Regional: Derby remains elite in 63-26 win over Wichita East (Nov. 5)
The Panthers cruised to a regional victory backed by a seven touchdown effort by Edwards. The junior rushed for 272 of the 375 rushing yards with six touchdowns to match. Drake Thatcher and junior quarterback Brock Zerger joined the scoring party as the Panthers amassed 452 yards to secure a regional title.
Sectional: Derby withstands comeback bid in 27-21 win over Lawrence Free State (Nov. 12)
It took a four-quarter effort for the Panthers to advance into the sub-state game. The offense had some key pieces go down with injuries, which slowed down some of the offensive firepower. However, the defense was able to get crucial stops during a second-half comeback. The playoff defining moment came in the third quarter. After a fourth and five stop, Edwards took a 95-yard touchdown run to the house to provide a 13 point swing and was essentially the winning score for the Panthers.
2021 DERBY FOOTBALL SCORES
vs. Newton 50-17, W
vs. Bishop Carroll 44-36, W
at Salina South 77-7, W
at Hutchinson 55-6, W
vs. Campus 70-21, W
vs. Maize 42-41, W
at Maize South 52-14, W
vs. Wichita Southeast 63-9, W
vs. Wichita East 63-26, W
vs. Lawrence Free State 27-21, W
vs. Lawrence 62-28, W