Panthers undeterred by loss
After a tough match last Friday against No. 2 ranked Carrington High that saw five fumble recoveries and an interception for the Panthers, Coach Beau Eriksson says Rugby has no reason to mourn their 48-12 loss.
“You know, it’s tough being on the losing end of the scoreboard, but we knew going in that, against a very good Carrington program, we were going to have to play dang near perfect to beat them. They’re No. 2 (in the state) and they’re a great team. We’re not going to hang our heads over this,” Eriksson told the Tribune after the game.
Eriksson said the Panthers came prepared for a physical game, refusing to let the Cardinals intimidate them. Rugby’s defense held the Cardinals to eight points in the first quarter, recovering a total of three Cardinal fumbles, two by defensive linebacker Collin Kraft, who also sacked Cardinals’ quarterback Lukas Hendrickson in the second quarter. Strong Safety Corey Mattern added to the Panther defense push with one interception.
The Panther offense paced the Cardinals early in the second quarter, scoring six points after quarterback Jaden Hamilton connected with wide receiver Devan Michels for a touchdown. However, an attempted two-point conversion after the score failed.
Although the Panthers closed the gap to 8-6, the Cardinals unleashed scoring drives that yielded three more touchdowns and 2 point conversions in the second and third quarter.
The Panthers again scored a touchdown when Hendrickson completed a pass to Michels, but their 12 points would remain on the board for the rest of the night, as the Cardinals steamrolled their way to the final score.
Reflecting on the tough fight, Eriksson said, “There were a lot of good things that we’re going to learn from. We have ahead in this season, three games that are very winnable for us, and we’re nothing but proud of these boys tonight.”
“Tonight, we learned that our boys can be physical,” Eriksson continued. “We knew that we had to match that early, and we did. And it’s going to be the same thing (for each future game). Knowing that we’ve seen them play the most physical that they have all year, we’ve got to bring that to every game, and hopefully, it’s going to be more in our favor next time around.”
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