The Saratoga Sun -

Panthers succumb to Wolves' bite

In new nine-man format, Saratoga puts up fight against visiting Moorcroft


September 16, 2020

Mike Armstrong

Teegan Love runs with ball towards the Moorcroft goal at Saturday's game in Saratoga.

The Saratoga Panthers hosted the Moorcroft Wolves at 2 p.m. this Saturday in a conference game.

In the 1st quarter, the Panthers were the first to score. The Wolves got down the field on several occasions but Saratoga's defense held them scoreless at every attempt.

The 2nd quarter saw Moorcroft come knocking on the one yard line of Saratoga only to have Noah Rimmer stop the Wolves dead in their tracks.

Another big defensive play was Teegan Love swatting down a pass that stopped a drive by the Wolves with a little over three minutes left in the quarter. The Panthers were getting down the field but could not put together a series to stop giving the ball back to Moorcroft.

The Wolves took advantage of field position with a little over two minutes before the half and got their first touch down of the game. After getting the extra points, the game was now 6-8.

The Panthers did not give up. Less than 20 seconds were left in the half and Rimmer made a big play getting down the field within striking distance of Moorcroft's goal line.

The Panthers did strike with Love catching a pass in the last seconds of the quarter for a touchdown. There were no extra points scored and, at halftime, the Panthers were ahead 12-8.

It was Senior Day and all parents of seniors came out onto the field. They were joined by their sons.

While out on the field, a message about the football players was read aloud that had been written by head football coach, Logan Wright.

"When I first arrived here, Teegan Love and Noah Rimmer were two of our eight players and they were sophomores. We made it through a tough year and our program began to grow. Last year we ended up with 17 players, and among the boys joining were Justin Shotwell, Gavin Bartlett, Max Dahl and Jordan Travis. This year we picked up a few more players including Zach Standard, who is our newest senior.

This has been an incredible journey for me. I have learned that with this group I can be myself. They are a class that can do things the right way and are one of the more talented group of seniors that this town has probably seen in a while. They're hard working, coachable, talented, and most importantly, respectful young men.

I'm glad that we have at least seven more games together. I know the time will fly, but we will slow down each day and make the most of it. I love you guys."

The crowd applauded to the coach's words.

The 3rd quarter saw both teams give their best effort to score. It was not until there was a little over five minutes left in the quarter did the Wolves get past the tough Panther defense.

Moorcroft went ahead 12-16 with 5:17 left in the quarter.

The Panthers started a drive only to have the ball intercepted. Standard sacked the Wolves quarterback to stop any scoring opportunity by Moorcroft.

Saratoga had possession of the ball going into the 4th quarter and Love made a catch to threaten Moorcroft. Unfortunately, the Panthers turned over the ball in the next play.

The Wolves looked ready to give the ball back with a 4th down and 11 to go, but Moorcroft had a big pass that put the team in scoring distance. The Wolves were on the 20 yard line with 4:15 to go in the game.

Again, the Panthers held the Wolves at bay.

With 2:41 left, the Panthers threw an interception and Moorcroft was in scoring distance.

The Panthers had opportunities to stop Moorcroft but penalties took their toll. Late hits cost the Panthers. Moorcroft scored with 2:02 left in the game making the score 12-22.

Wright called a time out and told the team not to lose confidence.

The Panthers got down the field with 1:24 left but a Panther player was disqualified and had to the leave the game for unsportsman like conduct. The next play, with 1:04 left in the game, had the Panthers turn the ball over.

Moorcraft ran the clock out and gave the Panthers their first loss of the season.

The Panther coach was disappointed with the loss, but he had bright spots.

"Physically, I feel we rose to the challenge, but I think I called more of a six-man game than a nine-man," Wright said. "Last year we lost our first game bad and we put in the time and got better. That is the plan now."

Wright said there would be elements to learn from the game against Moorcroft that would help as the season went on.

"The Moorcroft team was more disciplined and we got too emotional and made mistakes after the play, but that is not what I stand for and that is what we are about," Wright said. "But we will adjust."

The next scheduled game is at 6 p.m. on September 18 against the Pine Bluffs Hornets in Pine Bluffs


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