And that's exactly what the Panthers did, defeating the visiting Oilers, 17-13, Friday night in a CIF nonleague game.
The Panthers' slow start was characterized by quarterback Matt Macias two interceptions caused by dropped passes ending up in the oppositions hands and an inability to get featured runner Matt Fregoso moving consistently on the ground.
Outside of overthrown downfield passes, Koeffler said, "he threw the ball really well." His game heroics took place on offense and defense. He threw a lead-changing touchdown from the one yard line. He also had a key fourth down conversion, wherein, he scrambled for the necessary six yards that lead to said touchdown.
When asked about any adjustments after the half when they were trailing the Oilers by three, Koeffler said they didn't change anything. They showed confidence in Macias at quarterback. So much so, they started the first series with three consecutive passing plays.
His favorite target of the night was tight end Danny Villalobos, who caught six passes for 106 yards, with one catch for a touchdown. Fregoso was the workhorse late the in the game, finishing with 145 yards on 29 carries, one of them being the game-winning 21-yard touchdown run.
Defensively, as defensive back, Macias lead a ball-hawking defense with two of its three interceptions for the game. They each came during critical times when the Oilers were seemingly marching down the field.
But the defense was the story throughout the game. Just like the Panther offense, the defense was shaky during its first drive, allowing the Oiler offense to drive down to their own five-yard line. And they wouldn't make things easy for most of the night for Montebello.
They were so effective, save a fourth quarter touchdown pass downfield, Koeffler said, he got the go ahead on more than one occasion to go for it on fourth down via his defensive coordinator. The Panthers (1-0) stifled the opponent's running game, bottling it to a total of 53 yards on 18 carries.
The Oiler passing game didn't fare any better. In addition to the interceptions, they were sacked three times in the second half, twice late in the fourth quarter.
Heading into practice this week, Koeffler said the team will focus on taking care of the football.