Panthers gridders lose to Southeast 46-6

Defense starts well, offense has trouble clicking

 

Keith McLendon

The Panther's Justin Bonner (3) tracks down a Southeast back Friday.

With its first scheduled conference competition right around the corner Sept. 23, the Saratoga football team suffered another loss Sept. 16, falling 46-6 to the Southeast Cyclones. It was the third loss of the young season for the Cats, though none of the first three matches have affected division standings.

"We kind of got into a hole early and couldn't crawl out," said coach Kegan Willford Monday.

After the first quarter, the Panthers were down 12-0 following two Cyclones touchdowns and a pair of unsuccessful two-point conversion attempts. By half, that score had ballooned to 33-nil, and the match never tightened significantly.

Willford said some of the Panthers troubles can be attributed to a slow start offensively. He said the Panthers defense did a good job slowing the Cyclones to begin with but spent a lot of time on the field, adding "We were having a hard time moving the ball." Willford also noted that Southeast is a strong team statewide, calling them a tough opponent.


Snapping mishaps continued to bedevil Saratoga, and one of the Panthers' biggest plays of the game came following a mis-snap to the punter. Sophomore Alex Ziegler picked up the wayward pigskin and ran for a 40-yard gain and a new set of downs for Saratoga.

Ziegler ended with 54 running yards on his three carries, and workhorse running back Morgan Rempel added another 44 yards on his 26 efforts.

Lots of pressure from the Cyclones' defensive line had the Panthers scrambling on many plays. "Inside, outside, their linebackers were blitzing a lot," Willford said.

The Panthers started to turn things around with some position-switching, Willford noted. In the second half, Willford moved Max Schneider and Nate Rimmer from their normal positions at guard to tackle, and he said he was pleased with their adapting to the new positions. In the last quarter, the Panthers regained some muster and outscored the Cyclones 6-0, even though Southeast was still starting it's best players, Willford said.

Looking ahead to Saratoga's match against Wyoming Indian, Willford said he was leaning towards keeping Schneider and Rimmer at tackle. Saratoga will be looking to move the ball on the ground against the beefy Ethete squad, which Willford called one of the largest teams in the conference.

"Hopefully we can play a little more power football (Friday)," Willford said of his strategy.

The Panthers square off against the Wyoming Indians 6 p.m. Sept. 23, in Ethete.

Keith McLendon

Quarterback Sam Schneider looks for a cross-route receiver early in the game.

 

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