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Panthers fall 20-0 to Jaguars

By Staff | Sep 16, 2016

Keith Vetsch on a carry for the Panthers, with Jaguars right tackle Kyle Saville close behind.

Offensive mistakes and opponents’ big plays put the Rugby Panthers on the wrong side of a 20-0 shut out last week at Northern Cass High School.

The Jaguars capped an 11-play opening drive with junior running back Matthew Wika running it in for 15 yards, and wideout-turned-quarterback Isaiah Aaseby keeping it for a conversion.

The Panthers then took possession at their own 43-yard line. After two plays with little to no forward progress, senior quarterback Anders Johnson then connected with classmate Ethan Morin on a pass into Jaguar territory. Johnson’s second attempt at passing was then be intercepted by Jaguars defensive end Marcus Jensen.

“We knew that Anders [Johnson] is an athletic kid at QB,” said Jaguars head coach Craig Lachowitzer, “and that if we could bottle him up we could have a successful night.”

On the first play after the interception, Jaguars senior fullback Andrew Jones took the ball six yards into Panther territory. Aaseby on a quarterback keeper, then connecting with sophomore wideout Wrigley Elson, and Jones and Wika carries helped push even deeper, putting the ball on the Panthers’ four yard line to start the second quarter.

Wika then opened the second quarter on a four-yard scamper.

The Panthers second drive at first went nowhere on a 2nd down and 10 from their own 36-yard line. However, a face mask penalty on the Jaguars allowed the Panthers to advance to the middle of the field. An incomplete pass forced the Panthers to punt.

The Panthers defense was then able to stop the Jaguars, forcing two turnovers on downs to end the first half.

“After getting down 14-0 we didn’t give up,” said Panthers head coach Scott Grochow. “We worked hard and kept them out of the endzone. On offense we made too many mistakes and needed to sustain a drive by staying with our blocks longer.”

Johnson tossed to classmate Kade Leier to put the Panthers in Jaguar territory, despite being on third down with five yards to go. Johnson then connected with Morin for a six yard pass to convert the down. The Panthers then found themselves in another third down situation, but a holding penalty pushed them back 10 yards. A keeper by Johnson put the Panthers at fourth down and short, after which results in the first turnover on downs that wasn’t in the Panthers’ favor.

Holding penalties also plagued the Jaguars on their following possession, sending them to their own 37-yard line. An incomplete pass resulted in third down and and fourth down and long.

Incomplete passes and an illegal blocking penalty ended the Panthers’ next drive. And the opening drive of the fourth quarter didn’t fare much better, as Johnson’s pass on third down was intercepted by Jaguars free safety Brant Bohmert, who carried the ball for 50 yards into Rugby territory. The Jaguars would be forced to punt after an illegal substitution penalty put them fourth and long.

The Jaguars later scored with Jones running for 30 yards.

On the Panthers’ last drive, Johnson was able to carry the ball to the Jaguars’ 34-yard line. But the Jaguars then recovered a costly fumble at their own 29-yard line.

The Panthers played on their home turf against Langdon Area on Friday.

“Langdon is a team who has some very talented and experienced players, especially in the skill positions. I think they only lost two from last year,” Grochow said. “They are going to run a lot of different formations to try and get us out of position.”

The Panthers will cap off Homecoming week on Sept. 23 against Lakota.

“We need to be sharp and disciplined on defense. On offense we need to do a much better job of blocking, not only from our linemen but from everyone. We need to sustain our block to give us a chance to move the ball,” Grochow said.

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