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Panthers blitz Braves

By Staff | Sep 27, 2013

Victor Gronvold wraps up a Bottineau ballcarrier during the first half of the Panthers homecoming with on Sept. 20. Chris Bieri/PCT

Rugby head football coach Scott Grochow had to be pleased when he looked up at the scoreboard after the first quarter of his team’s homecoming game against Bottineau on Sept. 20.

The Panthers led 35-0 and had done nearly everything right in the first 12 minutes, scoring on both passes and runs and converting turnovers into points.

“I definitely think it was the most complete quarter we’ve played all year,” Grochow said. “We didn’t give up any yards really. They had one play where they snuck one out there a little bit. Other than that we came right back. On offense we really had some things going.”

Rugby won the game 48-12 to improve to 3-1 on the season.

Rugby got on the board right away as quarterback Brad Heidlebaugh hit Chris Hamilton from 2 yards way.

Chris Bieri/PCT Rugby’s Tanner Bernhardt runs through the Bottineau defense during the Panthers’ homecoming game on Sept. 20.

Later in the quarter, Heidlebaugh connected with Tanner Bernhardt on a nifty pass and run for a 63-yard score.

Both Bernhardt and Heidlebaugh added scores on the ground, as did Eric Hooker, and by the time the first quarter whistle blew, Rugby had the game firmly in hand.

Grochow said the linemen, both on offense and defense, played good games.

“I think our offensive line did a very good job,” he said. “I thought we did a good job of blocking downfield too, especially our receivers.”

On defense, Rugby limited Bottineau to next-to-nothing until the fourth quarter, when the Rugby JV players were playing full time.

Chris Bieri/PCT Rugby’s defense was outstanding throughout the game, limiting Bottineau to just two fourth-quarter scores.

“Our defensive line stepped up and did a really great job,” Grochow said. “They caused enough problems that the only place (the Bottineau ballcarriers) could go was where our linebackers were.”

Grochow said some of his younger players showed promise as well. Heidlebaugh was holding a clipboard by early in the third quarter and Rugby was still able to get some things done on offense.

“When our JVs played, we gave up a little to their varsity but once their JVs played we moved right down the field and our JVs were able to score,” he said. “I thought that was a really good thing for us.”

Bernhardt added a 49-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and Brady Olsen scored from three yards out in the fourth quarter.

Next on the agenda for the Panthers is a Sept. 27 game against Lewis & Clark-Berthold.

Grochow isn’t sure what to expect from the Bombers, who struggled in a loss to Harvey but beat traditional power Velva.

“Where are they at?” Grochow wondered. “We don’t know, and it’s their homecoming. We have to be prepared and I think we will be.”

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