BARTONVILLE — The Limestone football team showed off its speed late in a Mid-Illini Conference game against Washington.
But the Panthers withstood the late rally by the Rockets and remained undefeated in the conference with a 55-20 decision at Frank C. Leach Stadium on Friday night.
Sam Walter scored on runs of 39 and 3 yards, and returned a punt 70 yards for a third touchdown, and teammate Josh Schellenberg rushed for a game-high 147 yards and scored twice to lead the Panthers (4-1, 3-0) to the win.
Washington rushed for 406 yards and had a 40-7 lead at one point midway through the third period.
But the Rockets (0-5, 0-3) scored twice in the third on some a pair of break-away plays.
Gerald Cummings (115 yards on eight carries) escaped for an 82-yard run for a score, and then Brend Hiserote caught an 80-yard scoring pass from Limestone quarterback Blake Fengel (6-for-21 passing for 162 yards) to keep the game from going to a running clock.
"We got up early, got some guys in, and got some guys healthy, hopefully," Washington coach Darrell Crouch said. "We just missed a few things offensively, and defensively we gave up some plays that we shouldn't have.
"But halfway through the season we still need some twos (second-string players) to come along. We'll see how we match up next week, because it will be a tough battle with Dunlap."
The Panthers jumped out to a 27-0 lead in the first half, getting two TDs from Walter, one from Schellenberg and an 8-yard scoring run by quarterback Caleb Fisher.
But the Rockets avoided a first-half shutout with a late second-quarter touchdown.
Limestone went 81 yards on 11 plays, scoring on a 23-yard pass from Fengel to Daniel Huber with 5.1 seconds left in the half.
"We kept battling," Rockets coach Darin Driscoll said. "It's the most points we've scored in a game.
"I thought we were in position to make plays. We just didn't finish it. I think we're 100 times better than we were in Week 1."
The Panthers came out quickly in the second half, getting scoring runs of 26 yards by Schellenberg and 39 yards by Walter to go up 40-7.
Washington was at the Limestone 2, in position to make the game a running-clock affair.
But the Panthers fumbled, and Brandon Moore recovered for the Rockets, just before Cummings broke loose for the 82-yard TD.
"They took their ones out, and those are two track kids we had there," Driscoll said. "We've been waiting for those plays.
"That drive right before half was a nice boost for us, but we just didn't come out with enough oomph in the second half.
"Part of that is we're gassed. We're doing good things, but we're just not doing enough of them."
Johnny Campos can be reached at email@example.com or at 686-3214. Follow him on Twitter @JohnnyCampos59.