Panthers celebrate Senior Night with 55-7 romp over New Milford

Masuk running back Jason Champagne turns upfield en route to a 23 yard touchdown run early in the first quarter, sparking a 55-7 Panther win over New Milford at Benedict Stadium Friday.

MONROE, CT — Star running back Jason Champagne broke loose for a 23 yard touchdown run early in the first quarter and Jackson Zylick kicked the extra point to give the Masuk Panthers a 7-0 lead over the visiting New Milford Green Wave during Senior Night at Benedict Field Friday.

After New Milford tied the game at 7-7, Masuk quarterback Robert Klein hit receiver Shane Walker with a 19 yard touchdown pass in the second quarter and the Panthers never looked back, while coasting to 55-7 victory.

Klein threw his second scoring pass, 65 yards to Colin Hope, increasing the Panthers’ lead to 21-7 with 3:49 left in the half.

New Milford almost got back into the game on their next drive.

Green Wave quarterback John Balzi III, who scored his team’s only touchdown on a short run earlier, threw a deep pass to receiver Alex Brown, who had the ball in his hands at the Masuk 10, before Panthers safety Tariq Al-Hameedi delivered a hit, jarring the ball loose and forcing an incompletion.

The rout was on.

Masuk defensive end Luke Benway had an interception and returned it for a score, but it was called back due to an illegal block. But the turnover set up a four-yard touchdown run by Gavin Walker with 44 seconds left in the first half. The Panthers led 28-7 at halftime.

In the third quarter, Klein completed a short pass over the middle to receiver Max Viglione, who dragged defenders and lunged over the goal line for a score. Zylick’s extra point made it 35-7.

Later in the quarter, Viglione caught a pass in the flat, turned upfield and ran along the sideline before being pushed out of bounds at the Green Wave’s four-yard-line.

Champagne rushed for a touchdown on the next play. The extra point was blocked, but Masuk increased its lead to 41-7 with 2:26 left in the quarter.

A New Milford runner gets stuffed at the line of scrimmage by Masuk defenders, who swarmed to the ball.

Masuk’s defense continued to dominate and linebacker Nick Fox pounced on a loose ball, giving the Panthers the ball at New Milford’s 25.

The Panthers went on to score early in the fourth quarter when Klein hit Shane Walker on a slant for a 10-yard score.

Masuk was winning 48-7, so the running clock rule went into effect. When a team goes up by 35 points or more the game clock continues to run until the end of the game.

But that didn’t stop the Panthers from adding one more score.

Champagne returned a punt 50 yards for Masuk’s final touchdown with 7:38 left.

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