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Panthers put hard work into homecoming game prep

By Sue Sitter - | Sep 19, 2020

Before Rugby High School’s homecoming king and queen were crowned, the Rugby Panthers took to the gridiron next to the school to practice for Friday’s game against the Grafton Spoilers.

Any pain from their 48-0 loss against the Langdon Area/Edmore-Munich Sept. 11 seemed to have faded, replaced by hope for a comeback on Rugby’s Northern Lights Field.

Along with preparations for their homecoming game came studies of the Spoilers on film.

“They’re a very good team on film,” Panther Coach Travis Risovi said of Grafton earlier in the week. “It’s one of those weeks where we’ve had a couple of tough ones here in a row and hopefully, we’re learning and growing and getting better after each of those games. We’re preparing this week to play another very good football team.”

“I think we’ll work hard all week and the boys will be ready come Friday night,” he added.

Risovi outlined some key strategies to help the Panthers against the Spoilers.

“We need to get back to controlling the line of scrimmage,” he said. “I think we’ve lost on the line of scrimmage in the last two games, both on the defensive and offensive side and that was something we won on the first two games of the year.”

“It all starts on the line of scrimmage in football, and we’ve got to get back to winning it,” Risovi added.

Risovi said the 3-1 Spoilers’ play “has been pretty balanced. When you watch film, they like to run the ball and they like to throw the ball. They seem to catch the ball really well and their running backs run hard. We’re going to have to be ready for anything.”

“We’re going to have to come out Friday night and play hard and fly around the field because it’s going to be a tough test,” Risovi added.

Risovi said Tim Mueller, who specializes in kicking has returned to play, fresh from North Dakota National Guard boot camp.

“He actually had four or five carries against Langdon Friday, and he also played defense for half the game Friday night,” Risovi said. “We’re just getting him worked back in. We’re excited to watch him play.”

Risovi added, “The thing is, the boys are working hard. They’re putting in their time. They’re working hard, and as long as that’s happening, we’re always going to give ourselves a chance.”

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