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Saturday, September 19, 2009

South Scores 34 Points…

…but still lost against the Mississinawa Valley Black Hawks. In a night of lopsided scores in the Cross County Conference, this game was not an exception as the Black Hawks scored 55 points of their own to win by 3 scores. A 55 – 34 final is more like a basketball game and the scoring was fast and furious in the first half. Giving up big running plays was once again the bane of the Panther defense as 5 touchdowns came from runs of 40 yards or more.

The first drive of the night ended in paydirt for the Panthers. They started in their wishbone offense and made it look easy as they methodically marched down the field. Roy Wysong capped off the drive with a long run and the Panthers were up. After holding the Blackhawks to 3 plays and punt. It was looking like it may be the Panthers night. But this would be their only lead of the game. The ensuing Panther series ended with a fumble as midfield and that set the tone for the rest of the night. Mississinawa’s Gary Peace rambled 56 yards for a score on their series. They would score again in the first quarter to go up 12-7.

In the second quarter, the Black Hawks could do no wrong when the trickle became a torrent as they scored at will. 29 points were amassed and the Panthers could only score a single TD as Grant Kreitzer pulled in a Miles McCollum pass late in the quarter. At the half, it was 41-14.

The Panthers gamely tried to get some momentum in the second half. Skylar Reckers and Miles McCollum both scored. And when an onsides kick worked to the Panthers advantage, the Panther sideline woke up and made the most noise that I have heard all season. But just when it looked like there was going to be a momentum change, the Black Hawk defense stepped up and made a big play – forcing a fumble at midfield. This crushed the Panthers drive and hopes for a comeback. With a three score deficit, they just could not afford any mistakes. Roy Wysong capped the night for the Panthers with a 21 yard TD carry.

The Panthers were down several players going into the game. Notably, 2 of 3 running backs were unable to start due to injury and illness. At one point, the remaining starting running back was out with a stinger and no starters were in the backfield. However, I don’t think having all backs available would have made a difference in the outcome. Wysong, Combs, and company still managed a respectable 34 points. The team can put points on the scoreboard, they just need to find a way to keep the other team off of it. Next Friday South hosts Bethel.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Two teams with 0 and 2 records met this past Friday night. Both South and Arcanum have had a rocky start to the season. But one team would leave with a victory and a chance to get some momentum going, the other would have a 0-3 record and a tough climb to achieve a winning record. So both teams entered the games with high hopes and determination.

But it was a night of big plays. I think both teams may have scored a TD each from a long drive. But the other scores were from long passes, or long runs - which made for an exciting night. Just when you thought one side or the other had some breathing room, someone would slip a tackle or two and beat feet into the endzone. Despite the big plays, defenses were a factor. Arcanum had a pair of interceptions. And South had a bend but do not break mentality as they allowed the Trojans to churn out yardage in their Woody Hayes grind it out attack. But once they got to the twenty, the Panther defense would stiffen and ended up stopping 4 drives during the night – one of them ending at the one foot line where South denied the Trojans on a critical 4th down play.

A case in point was Arcanum’s first drive which ended on a 4th and 4 on the 7 yard line where Grant Kreitzer made a tackle for loss. But South had to punt after 3 plays and in a play from scrimmage, Trojan Brad Rothwell peeled of a 63 yard for the first score of the night. South’s Skylar Reckers then scored on a 48 yard carry. So the tone was set for the evening.

South was up at halftime 14-7 thanks to a Reckers touchdown carry. Other highlights of the second quarter were another Kreitzer tackle for loss to end another Arcanum drive on 4th down and a Roy Wysong catch for about 40 yards.

In the third quarter after Skylar Reckers ended an Arcanum drive, Steve Balthis caught a Miles McCollum pass and went about 70yards for a score. South was now up 20-7. But Brad Rothwell had other ideas as he took the kickoff 85 yards for an answering TD. Now it was 20-13 as the teams battled into the fourth quarter.

After an Arcanum interception, the Trojan offense marched the ball down the field. Advancing all the way to the one foot line. This is where the South defense made a stand when it counted most. After peeling the players off of a rugby style scrum by the goal line, the referee gave his signal – first down for TVS. They had held off the Trojans. This set up the next score. After a gain of about 3 yards. The ball was handed off to Skylar Reckers who slipped thru the line and barreled into the open where he raced 96 yards for a touchdown.

A Roy Wysong sack stopped an Arcanum drive and helped to set up the next Panther score, with Balthis scoring again for South. Arcanum scored easily on their next drive which had to make Panthers nervous again. But they were just about out of clock as only 1:50 was left in the game. After an onsides kick was covered by South, the Panthers ran out the clock to preserve the victory TVS 32 – Arcanum 19.