Panthers sting Hornets
The Rugby football team’s offense is still trying to work out the kinks.
Fortunately for the Panthers, their defense has been holding opponents to next to nothing early this season.
That was the formula for Rugby as it traveled to Harvey and defeated its rival, 21-12, on Sept. 13.
The win was of the comeback variety for the Panthers, which trailed 12-7 after one quarter.
Harvey hit on a big play early, as Carson Koble scored on a 55-yard run, but the Hornets couldn’t convert the point after. Brad Heidlebaugh gave the Panthers a 7-6 lead with a 5-yard run, making the ensuing kick.
But Koble struck again, scoring on a 35-yard fumble return TD. But again, the Hornets couldn’t convert the point after, and again the Panthers responded.
Tanner Bernhardt scored on a 3-yard run as Rugby took a 14-12 lead, an advantage they wouldn’t relinquish.
Rugby head coach Scott Grochow said it was good to see the team fight out of a hole on the road.
“Especially after they scored on a turnover,” he said. “It’s always one of those things you need to fight back from. We got the ball back and went down the field and scored right away.”
But Grochow said the team needs to continue to try to find a groove on offense.
“We have to find that flow, we have to find a consistency,” he said. “The first three series, other than the turnover, we did. It was almost methodical. Then we have a penalty here and a penalty there and we get out of touch with it. We have to eliminate some of the mistakes we’re making. Some of them are penalties and some are just mental mistakes. We have to get better at that.”
Grochow said the Panthers passing game, which has contributed just over 100 yards of offense, could have been better.
“We did a better job of getting the ball where it belonged, but we just didn’t catch it,” Grochow said. “We had 4-5 drops. We have to get it all in sync. We have to catch the ball when Brad puts in on the line and we have to have him continue to make some good decisions and keep our running game where it’s at.”
Rugby’s defense continued its strong play, allowing only the single offensive touchdown.
“I thought our defense played very well,” Grochow said. “According to our stats, they had 180 yards of total offense and 90 of it came on two plays.”
Heidlebaugh gave the Panthers some breathing room in the third quarter, scoring on a 64-yard run.
The Panthers host Bottineau for their homecoming game on Sept. 20.
“We can’t make the mental mistakes,” Grochow said. “We have to find a flow on offense. If we can do that, I think we can come out with a ‘W’.”