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Panthers’ season ends in Larimore

By Staff | Oct 21, 2016

Statisticians (left to right) Mattie Koenig, Katherine Filler, Mckenzie Tuenge Katelyn Kuntz and Whitney Gronvold stuck by the football team thru a tough year for the Rugby Panthers. (Photo by Lori Gronvold for the PCT)

Little went the Rugby Panthers’ way during the last event on the gridiron for them last week in Larimore.

And it started from the opening drive.

The Polar Bears recovered their own kickoff, with senior running back Montgomery Hendrickson taking it to midfield. Senior quarterback Jacob Tupa then connected with classmate Caleb Hofer on a passing play that put the Polar Bears deep into Panther territory. The following carry by senior running back Royce Verkuehlen allowed the Polar Bears to set up shop at the Panthers’ one-yard line, and for Hendrickson to finish the drive on a short run.

The Panthers responded soon after with junior running back Kaden Jaeger starting the drive on an 84-yard kickoff return into Polar Bear territory. Senior quarterback Anders Johnson then connected with Jaeger on an 11-yard passing play, and finished on a short pass to classmate Kade Leier.

The Polar Bears then shot back twice, with Tupa finding wideout Elijah Holter on a 44-yard passing play and tight end end Clayton Schlett on a 25-yard pass.

The Panthers caught a break early in the second quarter. After starting the quarter at 2nd down and 3 on their own 43-yard line, Hendrickson put the Polar Bears into Panther territory. Very little progress was made following the play as Verkuehlen was only able to carry for a yard. And a false start penalty put them back at midfield. An incomplete pass attempt forced a turnover on downs.

Taking advantage of the turnover, Johnson was able to connect with Panthers junior wideout Landen Foster on a 30-yard pass. The Panthers fumbled, but were able to recover the ball in the red zone. After a few short yardage bursts, Johnson was able to score on a keeper.

The Polar Bears then took over the game with a touchdown on special teams, followed by another touchdown off an interception from defensive linebacker Brody Wagner. Tupa would later connect again with Holter on a 14-yard passing play in the final seconds.

The Polar Bears would end scoring just over five minutes into the fourth quarter with senior tight end Bryce Moen on a five-yard scamper.

With the loss to Larimore, the Panthers ended their season on an 0-8 record.

– Tribune Staff Report

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