|11/9/2020 11:46:00 AM|
Panthers handle the replacement Fall Creek Crickets 42-14
It took awhile for Iowa-Grant's football team to figure out what Fall Creek was trying to do on defense but once they did it was all but over.
After putting up eight first quarter points with a score in the last minute the Panthers struck for three more touchdowns before halftime and led 30-8. They added two more scores, one in the third frame and another in the fourth to put away the Crickets 42-14 in a game picked up to keep on playing through COVID-19.
Fall Creek was a late replacement for Pecatonica/Argyle who had their game pulled when Argyle went virtual in their attempt to stave off the infectious disease which surfaces all too often throughout the pandemic. That put coach Zach Raimer and his staff to work to get ready for an entirely new opponent.
"We found out that we would be playing Fall Creek after practice on Wednesday," Raimer said. "We were able to get some film on them and do some game preparation, but for the most part, we have been focusing on getting better at what we do no matter who our opponent is."
So Friday Fall Creek road the three plus hours from near Eau Claire to Iowa-Grant for a game.
Reid Lundell got the party started when he scored the first of three touchdowns with 1:07 left in the opening frame.
Brock Laube threw a scoring pass to Leo Hagberg to tie it at 10:16 of the second quarter but the rest of the frame was all Iowa-Grant.
Panther signal caller Isaac Hill threw a strike to Skyler Achenbach for a 16-8 lead at 9:15. At 3:38 he fired another touchdown pass, this time to Treyton Starkey. Lundell closed out the half with a one yard plunge and a 30-8 lead.
It was Lundell again in quarter number three when he scored from four yards out to put the Panthers in a comfort zone at 38-8.
The two teams matched scores in the final frame. Zachary Winkler took off on a 51 yard sprint to finish it for I-G and a 42-8 lead.
Fall Creek's Caleb Vandong plunged into the end zone from a yard out that gave the Crickets their final score.
Lundell finished the night with 101 yards on 29 carries. Stuckey also had. good night running the football with 13 carries for 93 yards.
Hill threw for 107 yards on crisp four of nine passing. Achenbach caught one for 58 and Starkey one for 21.
The Panther defense limited the Crickets to 18 yards rushing and battled their aerial game which accounted for 188 yards as Laube hit on 22 of 33 attempts.
Raimer had the Panthers make adjustments throughout the game to limit the damage from the Fall Creek passing attack.
"We ran our normal defensive scheme with a few minor adjustments throughout the game," Raimer said. "We knew Fall Creek liked to throw the ball, so a few adjustments were made to help slow down their passing game. Also, besides making minor adjustments to help stop the pass we were also able to come up with some key turnovers to help us take over the game."
"It was a close battle in the beginning, with it being an 8-8 ball game partway through the second quarter," Raimer said.
But then things picked up quickly.
"Offensively, we continued to just hammer the ball and slowly build up that momentum, Pieces were moved around offensively and the new offense finally had a full week to prepare and get better. Our players got better throughout the week, and their buy into the new scheme showed Friday night."
Raimer was happy for the Panthers and feels they are being rewarded for their hard work.
"This was a well-earned win for my players this week," the coach said. "It was great to see them enjoying themselves on the field and to finally see all their hard work pay off."
He was also glad they were able to find a replacement game.
"We would like to thank Fall Creek for traveling down to play us on Friday night," Raimer said. "Each game this year is a blessing for our program, especially our seniors."
He hopes the blessings can continue this week and a pandemic cancellation can be avoided
"As of right now, we are planning on playing Boscobel on Friday night," Raimer said. "We are expecting another close battle against the Bulldogs and looking forward to one more competitive football game to round out the year."
Friday is the last regular season scheduled game.
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