Larimore Polar Bears Maul the Rugby Panthers
The Larimore Polar Bears came to Rugby last week and ended the Panthers’ football season with a resounding 6-31 victory.
The Panthers kept it close the first half trailing just 0-12 at halftime. Slowly the Polar Bears pulled away in the second-half leading by 24 points going into the fourth quarter. Rugby closed the gap with a 10-yard completion from Anders Johnson to Victor Gronvold, making it a 6-24 affair after the two-point conversion failed. That was the last score of the game for Rugby; Larimore added a fourth quarter score of their own bringing the final tally 6-31 and effectively eliminated the Panthers from postseason play.
The Panthers were able to stop the air attack of the Polar Bears effectively, limiting them to only 29 yards in receptions and intercepting them once. Unfortunately, the Panthers had no answer for Larimore’s Alex Mutch, who ended the evening with 220 yards on the ground on 27 carries averaging 8.1 yards a carry and had two touchdowns.
For the Panthers it was just the opposite, with all their success coming from an aerial attack. Johnson completed 18 of his 35 pass attempts for 226 yards and a touchdown.
Gronvold was the leading receiver with 162 yard and 10 catches, followed by Hunter Hager who had 36 yards on 5 catches; Landen Foster caught two passes totaling 21 yards, and Kaden Jager added 7 yards with a catch. The Panther rushing attack was a negative seven yards for the evening.
Again the defense was led by Blackhawk Jones who had 11 tackles; followed by Jaeger with 9 tackles; Gronvold had 7 tackles; Hager contributed with 5 tackles; Ethan Clements and Johnson each had 4 tackles on the night; Spencer Koehmstedt, Devin Vetsch and Trevor Longie all had 3 stops; and Jaden Munyer, Kade Leier, and Ethan Morin all had a tackle each.
Coach Scott Grochow shared this about the Panther’s football season, ” It was tough year in the sense just seeing people get hurt. The one thing that does happen when you were as thin as we were in numbers and have injuries it makes other kids have to do some learning and step-up fast and hopefully it will be good for them in the long run.”
“With a season like this, you are hoping it ends up being a teaching tool and like I told the guys when I talked to them ‘I hope you learned a lot from this I hope you learned about perseverance and how things aren’t going to go your way and you need to step up and handle it and keep going from there’, reflected Coach Grochow. He continued, “Though, the season may have ended with a losing record hopefully these kids will win a life lesson out of the season.”
When asked how he felt about the team playing so hard in the last game with apparently nothing to play for, Grochow said, “They really did. They didn’t hang it up. That is what we talked about before the last game. I said guys know my parents always taught me if you can walked off the field, the court, the diamond, the rink or whatever and can look yourself in the mirror and gave it my best shot. You are a winner no matter what the scoreboard says.”
Coach concluded, “Hats off to Larimore they played well but I thought our kids played hard, we just didn’t have things go our way. Coach Triplett told me after the game, ‘You had us scared in the first half and the second half if a couple of things go your way you are ahead and life is different. I was proud of our kids they played hard.”
The Panthers ended the season with a disappointing 3-5 record, but it could have been different if they hadn’t been decimated with injuries all year.
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