By Cary Shuman
Just when you though Ernie Panias might be caught at the 20-yard line, he accelerated toward the end zone.
Panias’s 95-yard touchdown run was the play of the game for the East Lynn Bulldogs Pop Warner ‘D’ team in its 13-0 victory over the Boston Raiders Sunday at Chelsea Memorial Stadium.
Panias also had a 35-yard in what has been a breakout second half of the season for the 11-year-old running back. He has scored six touchdowns in his last five games.
Panias has benefited from having another standout runner in the backfield, Mornel Castro, who rushed for a conversion point in the game.
“Mornel is kind of our go-to guy and everyone sleeps on Ernie,” said head coach Pete Dow. “But Ernie has been on tear the last five games.”
Dow said he was unsure if Panias would complete the spectacular, length-of-the-field jaunt that had the East Lynn fans on their feet.
“I saw Ernie galloping, and I did not know if they were going to catch him,” said Dow. “All year long, every time he breaks free like that, it seems like they get close and he just turns on the speed and they can’t seem to get him. I was pretty amazed at it, actually.”
Dow credited offensive linemen Nias Dorsey, Nate Conde, and Jovan Machado and fullback Jo Jo Hernandez for their outstanding blocking in the game.
Marvin Avery led a strong defensive effort for the Bulldogs.
East Lynn (8-1) will play Dorchester Sunday at 10 a.m. at Randolph High School for the Massachusetts state championship. Dorchester defeated East Lynn, 8-6, to hand the Bulldogs their only loss of the season in their first meeting. The difference was a safety recorded by the Dorchester defense.
The East Lynn B and C teams were defeated by Hyde Park in their playoff games Sunday.