Velva dumps Rugby
Early in the season, the Rugby High School football team was having its way with opponents on the line.
But in its past two games, the Rugby lines have been pushed the wrong way.
Velva overcame an early deficit to defeat Rugby 28-6 on Oct. 4 in Velva.
The loss was the second in a row for the Panthers, who were defeated by Lewis & Clark-Berthold the previous week.
“We have to get our line to own the line of scrimmage,” said Panthers head coach Scott Grochow. “In the first four games, for the most part, we did a good job on the line of scrimmage. Even against (a big and physical Larimore team), at worst we played even with them. The last two weeks we haven’t done that. We haven’t executed. Everything starts up front, we know that. The bad thing about it when everything is going well they don’t get enough praise.”
Things looked good for the Panthers early on, as they took the opening kick down the field and scored as Brad Heidlebaugh hit Eric Hooker with a short pass.
But an injury to Panthers starting center/linebacker Bennie Mygland halted Rugby’s momentum and the Aggies scored 28 unanswered points.
“We did right away at the beginning of the game,” Grochow said. “We drove down the field and scored on them. We had an injury and I think our kids started thinking about that and we just never got back into doing things the way we should’ve.”
Aside from Mygland, the Panthers, especially on offense, were slowed by missing Tanner Bernhardt, who suffered an injury last week.
“From the idea of depth and the speed, you definitely miss a kid like that,” Grochow said of Bernhardt, who also starts at safety. “If we lose any of those guys we’re going to miss them because of what they can do and the depth. Your starting tailback, center, linebacker and free safety are sitting here in two guys.”
Velva’s Michael Thingstad was the second runner in as many weeks to chew up the Rugby defense.
Thingstad scored on a 17-yard run in the first quarter and added a 41-yard scoring run in the third and a 3-yard TD in the fourth quarter.
Chris Peterson also scored on the ground in the fourth quarter.
“They established the running game up the middle and we had a hard time stopping it for whatever reason,” Grochow said. “We’ve had that problem the last two weeks.”
The Panthers host Surrey on Oct. 11 and have what should prove to be a tough tilt against Des Lacs-Burlington the following week.
Grochow said the region is more balanced than he expected.
“I think so,” he said. “At almost any given night, anybody can beat anybody. You’ve got to come ready to play, it’s very balanced. We just know what we’ve got and what we’ve got in front of ourselves. We have to take care of ourselves and go from there.”
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