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A step backwards

By Staff | Oct 4, 2013

Lori Gronvold The Rugby defense had a hard time stopping Lewis & Clark’s Mitchell White (21) as the Bombers took a 20-13 homecoming win over the Panthers.

The Rugby football team had been taking steps forward.

But following a 20-13 loss to Lewis & Clark-Berthold, the team took a decided step back.

According to head coach Scott Grochow, the Panthers (3-1 in Region 3, 3-2 overall) will need to continue to improve to reach their goals.

“We thought we were taking steps forward,” Grochow said. “Last week we feel like we took a step backwards. This week we have to get back to taking steps forward. Hopefully we can do that.”

The Panthers travel to traditional power Velva on Oct. 4 for a key regional contest.

Rugby’s Chris Hamilton pulls away from a Bombers tackler during a Rugby 20-13 loss in Berthold on Sept. 30. Lori Gronvold

Rugby outgained the Bombers 275-226, but penalties stifled potential scoring drives, according to Grochow.

“Any time we got something going, we’d have a penalty,” he said. “Instead of it being third and 2 it was second and 20. That makes a big difference of how you do some things and what you need to do. Our kids have got to do a better job and we didn’t do that, we really need that now. We still have a chance to win the region and host playoff games. We’ve got to focus on what we’ve got to do and be ready to take on anything.”

The Panthers defense had been a strength through the first four weeks of the season, but L&C-Berthold running back Mitchell White was able to find room to run, chewing up a majority of the Bombers’ 214 rushing yards and scoring three touchdowns.

“We just didn’t do the things that we’ve done in the past,” Grochow said. “Give them some credit. They played well, but we didn’t play very well. It was a combination of both things. It was a snowball thing. Way too many penalties, just didn’t do some of the things we normally do up front. Ironically, as bad as we played we still had a chance to win the ballgame at the end of the game. We had a kid wide open and got the ball out there and he falls down. That’s the way it goes. We just have to be ready to play this week.”

Rugby stayed close throughout the game. White scored on a short run early in the second for the Bombers, but the Panthers marched back with a 3-yard scoring run by Brad Heidlebaugh.

Heidlebaugh ran for 42 yards on 13 carries and also passed for 130 yards, completing 8 of 18 attempts.

Eric Hooker ran for 68 yards on 11 carries and Tanner Bernhardt, who suffered a leg injury during the game, ran for 39 yards on 9 carries.

White gave L&C-Berthold a halftime lead of 14-7 when he scored on an 8-yard run late in the second quarter.

Hooker brought the Panthers to within 14-13 in the third quarter, scoring on a 5-yard run but the point after kick failed.

White made the final tally 20-13 with a scoring run of 14 yards in the fourth quarter.

The Panthers try to turn it around when they travel to Velva, which is 2-2 in region play and 2-3 overall.

“They’re a good, good football team,” he said. “We’re playing them at their place so we have to be ready to play and take care of business. They’ve changed a little bit this year but they haven’t changed a ton. They’re well-disciplined in their offense. We have to be assignment sharp and do what we’re supposed to do.”

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