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Much closer result

By Staff | Sep 9, 2016

Kaden Jaeger (no. 22, running) put the Panthers on the board in the fourth quarter last week in the home opener against Carrington (Lori Gronvold)

Last year the Rugby Panthers (0-2) lost to the Carrington Cardinals (1-1), 69-6.

Last week, although the Panthers lost, the result was much more closer, 8-12.

The Panthers’ opening drive was forced to end in a punt, after a pass attempt between senior quarterback Anders Johnson and junior wide receiver Landen Foster that would’ve gained serious yardage on top of a third down conversion was ruled incomplete.

Rugby would soon get the ball back on a misthrow from Cardinals quarterback Payton Smith.

The Cardinals would come close to scoring on their second possession of the game, however what would’ve been a 45-yard touchdown run by sophomore Drew Page was walked back due to an illegal blocking penalty. Two more penalties plus a sack in the backfield forced the Cardinals to punt on 4th down and long.

The Panthers ended the first quarter with senior Kade Leier getting the second interception of the game.

The Panthers maintained possession in the second quarter, however a costly holding penalty and incomplete passes forced the Panthers into 4th down and long.

The Cardinals’ next drive, which started with short gains from Braxton Hewitt and Kaden Wolsky, turned ugly with a 32-yard run from Wolsky that went into Panther territory. Hewitt, along with sophomore Lucas Geiszler, and Wolsky had short gains that resulted in a 3rd down and 1. Junior Hayden Schmitz, who stepped in at quarterback, then scored on a quarterback sneak. A blocked point after put the Cardinals ahead, 6-0.

The Panthers ended the first half on a third interception, after a facemask penalty put the Cardinals on the Panthers’ 40-yard line.

In the fourth quarter, the Cardinals opened on 4th down and 5, however a tackle on Schmitz forced a turnover on downs at the Panthers’ 30-yard line. After Johnson kept the ball on a run into Cardinals territory, junior Kaden Jaeger would cap off the drive on a 35-yard touchdown run.

“We were keen on [Kaden] Jaeger,” said Cardinals coach Mike Page. “They were able to get him the ball, [Cardinals] Coach [Kyle] Smith set up a defense. We didn’t let him get out too many times.”

Panthers coach Scott Grochow said: “We did a great job of finally getting the ball moving and being consistent and not shooting ourselves in the foot. I think earlier in the game we did some things where we’d shoot ourselves in the foot, either we’d drop a pass or fumble a ball or get a penalty, and on that series we stayed away from that. We got Kaden in the crease and he got a touchdown for us.”

Lining up for a kick, Johnson did a quick change and passed to junior wide receiver Joey Berg for the two-point conversion, giving the Panthers an 8-6 lead.

The lead would only last two minutes, as Wolsky ran 26 yards for a score.

The next drive almost resulted in a punt, however a defensive foul on the Cardinals gave the Panthers a first down from their 41-yard line. However, an incomplete pass between Johnson and classmate Ethan Morin resulted in a turnover on downs.

The Panthers were on the road Friday facing the Northern Cass Jaguars.

“We have to have some consistency,” Grochow said. “We just can’t have two or three good plays and take a play off, we got to be consistent and be at it all the time.”

The next two games for the Panthers are home games, with the Langdon Area-Munich Cardinals coming to Rugby on Sept. 16, and Lakota coming on Sept. 23 to cap off Homecoming Week.

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