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Hot start in Homecoming win

By Staff | Oct 4, 2019

Lori Gronvold for the Tribune Panthers’ quarterback Jaden Hamilton (left) attempts to get out of the pocket during last week’s Homecoming game.

While the temperatures decreased, the Rugby Panthers got to a hot start on the gridiron last week.

And it finished with a 45-14 victory over the Park River-Fordville-Lankin Aggies to cap off Rugby’s Homecoming Week.

The Panthers found themselves in Aggie territory to start their opening drive. And all it took was one play for quarterback Jaden Hamilton to find classmate/wideout Devan Michels on a 45-yard passing play for a score.

“One of the major [keys] was getting points on the board early on in the game,” said Panthers co-head coach Beau Eriksson. “We just are a team that thrives off our offense and also sets the tone with our defense. And I think that’s another factor of that was defensively our players got after it right away, they kept [the Aggies] out from a three-and-out right away; and we got the ball and scored right away. That was a major thing.”

The ensuing possession by the Aggies saw their momentum stunted by an offensive delay of game penalty, followed by an interception by the Panther defense on the play after.

The Panthers set up shop, this time deep within Aggie territory. A keeper by Hamilton pushed the Panthers further, setting the stage for a running score by Kory Vetsch.

The ensuing possession saw the Aggies get into Rugby territory, however the Panthers would get the ball back on a recovered fumble. The six-play drive would be capped with Hamilton finding Corey Mattern for a third score.

The Panthers would not put any more points on the board until 7:31 remained in the first half, with Hamilton making a second connection with Mattern from 44 yards out.

The next possession by the Panthers would see the Vetsch brothers and Hamilton get their squad further into Aggie territory, however they would be almost driven back a bit via a false start penalty. And then came a gift in the form of a defensive pass interference call on the Aggies.

Hamilton then went to work, first by an option pitch play to get the Panthers to the six yard line. Then by handing the ball to Keith Vetsch, who took it to the one yard line. And then, Hamilton reached into the end zone.

With just over one minute remaining in the half, the Panthers would then cap another drive with Hamilton finding Cody Jundt for a 28-yard pass.

At halftime, the score was 39-0 in favor of the Panthers.

The Panthers received the ball to start the third quarter, and scored on a nearly six minute, nine play drive due to a Keith Vetsch run. The quarter would end 45-0 still in the Panthers’ favor.

Panthers’ kicker Tim Mueller went 3-for-7 in extra point kick attempts.

The Aggies’ scoring would come first by a keeper from quarterback Jayse Fontaine, and second by a run from Logan Wieler.

The Panthers traveled to Carrington last night for a road game against the Cardinals.

They’re very physical and we’re gonna have to match that physicality on Friday night,” Eriksson said of Carrington. “But by all means I think our boys know that we will have a definitely good shot of beating them as long as we stick to the game plan, work hard and make decisions in the process, and have faith in what we’re doing.

Rugby will host the Westhope-Newburg-Glenburn Sioux on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m.

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