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September 21, 2019

8/30/2019 11:28:00 AM
Panthers getting use to new offense in early season play

Cole Crubel scored four touchdowns to lead River Ridge to a 41-12 win over Iowa-Grant in a non-conference opener for both teams Friday.
Crubel traveled 94 yards for his first touchdown at 3:04 of the first quarter then added scores in each of the final three frames. He score from a yard out with 2:17 left in the first half, from three yards away at 7:26 of the third and from the 14 two minutes into the fourth quarter.
The Timberwolves also got touchdowns from Brayen Barrita on an 18 yard run that staked River Ridge to a 14-6 first quarter lead when he went into the end zone at 9:10. Cole Esser, who picked up 69 yards on 14 tries scored from a yard out with 6:12 left in the second frame.
Cole Crubel picked up 166 yards on 10 carries and was four of six for 99 yards passing.
Esser picked up an additional 69 yards carrying the football and Barrita caught two passes for 58 yards.
Isaac Hill grabbed a pass from nine yards out at 9:33 to bring the Panthers within one after Crubel's first score but they were held away until Michael Winders caught a five year pass with 6:10 left in the game.
Both passes were courtesy of Ross Havlik who was 17 for 28 for 139 for the Panthers.
Michael Winders caught four passes for 56 yards while Matthew Winders picked up 47 yards on 10 carries to lead the rushing.
River Ridge generated 286 yards on the ground on 35 carries and an additional 99 through the air.
First year coach Zach Raimer credited the Timberwolves for being well prepared for the game.
"River Ridge is a well-coached and disciplined team, which provides opportunities for them to have those explosive plays," he said. "They consistently did their job on offense, where we had lapses in our assignment on defense.
The Panthers did score twice as they got familiar with what their coaches wanted them to do.
"For running a brand new offense, I thought we did a good job of moving the ball, especially in the first few series," Raimer said. "By spreading the ball out, which our quarterback and receivers did, we were also able to run the ball fairly well in the beginning. While we do have a lot to work on offensively, there were some shining moments from this game."
Raimer expects the Panthers to continue to grow with help from senior leadership.
"We are very senior-heavy this year, which is a blessing for a first-year head coach," he said about having a dozen senors. "They have done a great job this year at helping coach the younger players and encouraging them to do their best on every rep. I am excited to see how this veteran group grows over the season and how their leadership will impact our younger players.
"I thought that our quarterback and receivers did a great job at running their routes and throwing the ball, and both of our running backs did a good job of finding the holes and making a move," Raimer said. "Overall, the offensive line also did a great job at opening holes and protecting our quarterback in passing situations."
The Panthers have been spending the week fine tuning their play.
"This week in practice we are preaching "do your job!" We are trying to teach our players to trust one another and focus on their assignment rather than someone else's," Raimer said.
The Panthers head to Blanchardville Friday to take on Pecatonica/Argyle, who lost to Lancaster 14-7 in a hard fought opener last Friday.
"Pec/Argyle has size, speed, and discipline, which helps make them an effective and explosive team," said Raimer. "We are expecting to face a well-coached team that will make you pay for any mental mistakes you make."

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