Snider survived an hour-long lightning delay and a bit of fourth-quarter drama to come away with a 33-22 victory Friday night over Bishop Dwenger, keeping the Panthers' hopes for a conference title alive.
Bishop Dwenger was 2 minutes into the first drive of the night when a loud rumble of thunder interrupted the game at Spuller Stadium, sending both teams into the locker rooms.
Even after the teams returned to the field, it took time for each offense to warm up. Bishop Dwenger (4-4) soon punted the ball away. Snider then marched down the field, but its progress stalled, and Nick Talamantes hit a 30-yard field goal to salvage the drive and give the Panthers (6-1) a 3-0 lead with 1:13 remaining in the first quarter.
On the final play of the first quarter, Snider junior quarterback Luke Haupert threw a bomb that was caught by junior receiver Kamari Juarez on the 11-yard line. But the Saints defense held strong and the Panthers once again attempted a field goal, although this time the 24-yard kick fell short of the uprights.
The Panthers capitalized on their next trip to Bishop Dwenger's end of the field, however, as Haupert threw a 25-yard pass that a leaping Juarez picked out of the air for a touchdown, putting Snider ahead 10-0 with 6:46 to play in the second quarter.
The Saints got a break before halftime: On a Snider punt attempt, the Panthers fumbled the ball, and Bishop Dwenger took over on the Panthers' 27-yard line. The Saints took advantage, getting a 2-yard KJ Tippmann carry for a score with 1:38 to play before the half.
A nice kick return by Juarez gave the Panthers one more chance to do damage before halftime, and Talamantes connected on a 46-yard field goal to give Snider the 13-7 halftime lead.
The Panthers really started pouring it on in the second half. Haupert ripped off another pass that covered half the field, this time connecting with Juarez for a touchdown that got the stands rocking, giving Snider a 20-7 lead.
After a roughing-the-kicker flag on the Saints, Snider was given a new set of downs in the red zone, which resulted in a short touchdown by senior running back Tyrese Brown that put the Panthers up 27-7 with 1:42 left in the third. Quincy Myatt picked off Bishop Dwenger, and Snider started the fourth quarter on the Saints' 4-yard line, and Brown added his second touchdown of the night on second down to give the Panthers a seemingly safe 33-7 lead, despite the extra point being blocked.
But the Saints made it just a little more interesting in the fourth: With 10:27 to play, Saints quarterback Bohde Dickerson connected with senior Rocco Ciocca for a 33-yard touchdown. Then with 5:29 left in the game, Dickerson scored on a 9-yard quarterback keeper.
Tippmann scored on the 2-point conversion to cut the deficit to 33-22.
The Panthers face conference-leader Bishop Luers next Friday and can claim at least a share of the SAC title with a win.