EAST PEORIA — A late comeback last weekend cost Nick Welch his first victory as United Township's football coach.
The Panthers left no doubt Friday night, exploding for 34 unanswered points to run away with a 40-14 win over East Peoria at the EastSide Center.
Cayne Smith eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark, Telvin Chatman scored two touchdowns and four UT ballcarriers rushed for scores as UT snapped an eight-game losing streak dating back to last season.
The last win for UT (1-1) also came against East Peoria last Aug. 31.
UT's home opener is the Western Big 6 Conference opener next Friday against Quincy (1-1), a 22-12 Friday loser to Alton.
"It's our first win as a program and that's what matters," Welch said on QCSportsNet.com. "I'm not worried about me. I'm super happy for these kids being rewarded for all the hard work they put in this summer."
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The Panthers were 19-14 victims last weekend against Davenport West, which scored the winning points in the final two minutes.
"We've just got to do what we do," Welch said about adjustments made from last week. "We just had to execute better."
UT quarterback Daslah Geadeyan both rushed and passed for a TD, plus accounted for 200 yards total offense, 152 of that coming on 6-for-11 passing.
The TD pass came in the fourth quarter, answering an East Peoria score to help seal the victory.
Smith finished with 155 yards on 13 carries, 66 of those gains coming on his TD run to answer another East Peoria score to allow UT a 13-6 halftime lead.
Lamant Hill Jr. also joined Chatman in running for UT TDs, and the Panthers outscored the hosts 21-0 in the third quarter.
UT's offense rolled up 329 yards in ground gains.
"We have a long way to go," said Welch, a 28-year-old former Augustana player and Sherrard assistant. "But I'm super proud of our kids and coaches. It was a complete team effort."