Gehrig Dieter had not only a career night on Saturday against Bloomington North, but a record night as well. Dieter caught eight passes from quarterback Daigen Morgan for 373 yards and four touchdowns in the Panthers' 46-23 victory over the Cougars.
The 373 yards breaks the previous state record of 362 held by Burk Eiteljorg of Park Tudor in 1997 and Jason Yurack of Rushville in 1992.
This was the most impressive individual performance I have ever witnessed! Nick Zachery as a freshman in the state championship was very good, Tyrone Walker had some highlight reel catches in the 2009 state championship, and Darren Evans and Dexter Taylor combined to put on a great show at the 2005 Warren Central Gridiron Classic against East St. Louis; but Dieter's record takes the cake.
Dieter wasted no time getting the season started, scoring on the Panthers' second play of the game on and 80 yard reception from Morgan, in which Dieter outran the Cougar defense to the end zone. Dieter's second score might have been the most impressive, going up above three defenders and jogging five yards into the end zone for a 44 yard reception with just 37 seconds to play in the first half.
Dieter ended up scoring twice more in the third quarter; once on an 89 yard reception which was thrown just 10 yards across the middle and Dieter broke multiple tackles and sprinted to paydirt. Dieter finished the night with a 47 yard touchdown reception with 32 seconds to play in the third to cap the amazing night.
The Panthers will be a fun team to watch this year on offense with Dieter and Notre Dame recruit David Perkins on the field. Lost in the shuffle is Morgan who was quietly 14-of-20 passing for 404 yards and four touchdown tosses. The Panthers didn't waste any time, scoring on their first two plays from scrimmage and on each of their first three drives. Washington totaled 556 total yards and 46 points. It was the sixth time the Panthers have scored 40 or more points under Antwon Jones. From 1999-2008, there were just five times Washington broke 40 points.
With a strong defense as well, the Panthers will have the ability to challenge for a top spot in the Northern Indiana Conference.