The U-Prep Panthers earned their first win of the shortened spring season Friday with a convincing 48-6 thumping of Yreka. And while there is plenty to celebrate about the return of football and getting off to a victorious start, the win for U-Prep was more than a W – it was a symbolic start of a healing process after losing coach Darren Trueblood to cancer over the offseason.
For their cathartic victory on Friday, the U-Prep Panthers are this week’s Clear View Auto Glass Team of the Week.
The Panthers honored their former coach with a moment of silence prior to the game against the Miners and then went out handled their business on the field. They showed Trueblood’s protégé and replacement, Dustin Fortenberry, they’ve absorbed the lessons and culture Trueblood was instilling. U-Prep came out of the gate and scored 31 first-quarter points to make the contest a no-doubter.
“It was therapeutic almost, it was the opportunity to be out here together with these kids, to see the heartbreak for them not being able to play and then seeing the heartbreak of them losing our coach was incredibly difficult,” Fortenberry told Shasta County Sports after the victory.
Junior quarterback Payton Henderson opened the scoring with a 3-yard plunge, followed by a 6-yard Carter Abel TD and Jake Reuss added a third score in the Panthers first four plays. Henderson later hooked up with Chris Jimenez on a 97-yard bomb and Scott Jones on a 37-yard strike.
U-Prep travels to Anderson this week.
Clear View Auto Glass Team of the Week
Week 1 — U-Prep Panthers