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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Panthers Battle Blackhawks

In a matchup of closely matched teams, the Panthers and Blackhawks played a hard fought game on a wet Friday night. It was an exciting game with lead changes and a late comeback attempt that fell short. Both teams have been bitten by the injury bug, but were pretty back up to full strength for this game. With the wet field, turnovers would play a role in the game.

Mississinawa Valley scored first and made it look easy. Two carries by Darick Hiatt put the Blackhawks up 7-0 just a minute into the game. He rambled to the 1 yard line on the first carry of the game and scored on a one yard TD run. The Blackhawks tried an onsides kick but South recovered and got good field position. Skylar Reckers scored for TVS on a 2 yard TD set up by a drive where Miles McCollum ran for most of the yardage.

Now the momentum swung over to the Panthers. They returned a favor and did an onsides kick of their own. Ryan Burns fell on the ball and again South’s offense found themselves at midfield. This time South worked outside the tackles with both Balthis and Reckers gaining yardage. The drive was capped with a 10 yard Skylar Reckers TD run.

The TVS defense played inspired football, pinning the Blackhawks deep in their territory. Grant Kreitzer would have 7 tackles at halftime. South was able to score twice with Steve Balthis TD carrying on both runs. Two interceptions ended two other Panther drives. The Blackhawks were still full of fight. Towards the end of the half quarterback Trent Heitkamp was scrambling, then found some daylight and more as he took the ball 65 yards to the house. South had a commanding lead at the half 27-17.

The momentum swung over to the Blackhawks side in the third quarter. South began the half at their own 6 yard line. A poor punt gave the Blackhawks great field position. Darick Hiatt’s 9 yard carry put the Blackhawks back within a TD. South needed a spark to get their momentum back. Skylar Reckers responded early in the 4th quarter by intercepting a pass and returning it about 25 yards for a touchdown. Panthers piled in the endzone in response to the big play. Now the Blackhawks needed two scores to catch the Panthers.

The Panthers had a couple more big plays to end the game. Tyler Leach made a critical sack on 4th down at the 5:49 mark to end a Blackhawk drive. Then when South needed a critical first down on long yardage (from a holding penalty) to keep possession, Miles McCollum sprang for 22 yards and gave South a fresh set of downs. When the Blackhawks finally got the ball back, there was only 42 seconds left on the clock. Not enough time for two scores and the Panther would get their first victory of the season 33-20.

For pics, audio and more sports go to: Chris Tilton Sports

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