|9/23/2019 10:58:00 AM|
Powerful Redbirds pass way over Panthers
One thing Iowa-Grant's young football team learned from Darlington Friday is the Redbirds are a very powerful team.
Aside from the 36-0 loss with all the points in the first three quarters, the Redbirds held the Panthers to minus yardage and came up with three interceptions when they tried to throw the ball.
It was a long night but a learning night as the Panthers get ready for another SWAL battle this week with Aquinas.
Also, the Redbirds were dangerous through the air with 103 of their 112 yards touchdown passes. Hunter Hardyman caught two of them for 26 and 51 yards and Easton Evanstad grabbed one for 26 yards.
Panthers coach Zach Raimer credited the Redbirds, ranked seventh in Division 6, as a very tough match-up.
"Darlington is a powerful team." Raimer said. "They are very good at what they do, so it is hard to stop them. I think we did a good job at containing the fullback dive, but with so many weapons, Darlington was able to find other ways to score."
The chink in the Redbirds' armour came with fumbles and penalties. They coughed up the ball four times, lost two, and had 50 yards in penalties.
"We were able to force a few turnovers throughout the game, which gave our offense more chances and kept Darlington from the end zone on a few possessions," Raimer said.
The Panthers had a game plan they hoped would hold down the Redbirds but Darlington worked through it.
"Our game plan was to come in throwing, which is what we did," Raimer said. "All credit to Darlington though. They were tough on the defensive line and their linebackers played downhill."
Ross Havlik was only able to complete six of 37 passes. Reid Lundell caught nine for 54 and Michael Winders three for 45.
The Panthers cracked the line 12 times with a net minus two. Lundell picked up three on three tries and Zack Winkler two on four attempts.
Overall, though, Raimer said there were several bright spots for the Panthers.
"Darlington is a very tough opponent, one that I believe will finish in the top of the conference," Raimer said. "While the score was not in our favor, I think it was one of the better games we have played. Our players were physical and played until the very end. Some good things came out of this game for us. "
The work continues toward becoming a good football team for the Panthers.
"This week se are just going to focus on trying to do what we do best," Raimer said. "We will perfect the little things and work on the schemes we already have in place. "
Friday is a road trip for the Panthers in the new SWAL as they head to La Crosse to face an improved Aquinas team.
"Aquinas is a good, solid team," Raimer said. "I am expecting another battle from a good SWAL team this week."
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