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October 17, 2019

9/27/2019 11:22:00 AM
Panthers take early lead before Aquinas erupts

Iowa-Grant's football team continues on the road to improvement and is hoping that translates into a few wins in their last four games.
The Panthers took steps to get better Friday on a long road trip to La Crosse but in the end it was Aquinas that came out with a win. The Blugolds needed the win to keep pace with Mineral Point and Lancaster in the SWAL.
The Panthers got on the board first but it was Aquinas's night after that. With 20 first quarter points, 15 in the second and seven in the third the La Crosse squad won 42-13.
It is quite a resurgence for Aquinas that has been struggling to get wins over the past few seasons. This year they have a team that seems to have it all together and are making noise in the SWAL.
A long run and a long pass got a quick touchdown for the Panthers. Ross Havlik found Isaac Hill in the clear for a 30 yard score and an extra point made it 7-0.
"We were able to score on our first drive of the game," said Panther first year coach Zach Raimer. "It was kicked off by great run then followed up by a good throw and catch. Everyone executed their jobs on that first drive, which allowed us to score. "
From that point on Aquinas controlled the first quater. Aiden Lee scored on a six yard run then Gavin Wetzel threw a 46 yard pass to Will Cambio for a 12-7 lead. Gavin struck again with a 56 yard pass to Mason Viner to end the quarter 20-7.
Ashton Hollett got the second quarter going with a four yard Aquinas touchdown. Cambio then picked up a fumble and outraced the Panthers for a 55 yard score.
Wetzel and Cambio teamed up on a 45 yard pass play for the final Aquinas score.
"Aquinas is a very solid team offensively and defensively," Raimer said. "They have some great weapons on both sides of the ball, which allows for them to make some big plays. They also have a good coaching staff that provides them with opportunities to win."
"There was not one turning point in the game," Raimer added. "They are a good team that was able to control the game and get the victory."
The Panthers knew from the scouting report Aquinas had some great speed on the ground and were looking to stop that. But much of the damage came through the air and they completed some very big plays.
"Aquinas is a very solid team," Raimer said. "We knew they were a good running team, so we were set on stopping that portion of their offense. They have very fast and athletic receivers/wings, and a quarterback that can place the ball where he wants it, which allowed them to make big plays."
The Panthers added a score in the final quarter when Andrew Winders completed a drive with a two yard plunge that made it 42-13.
The drives proved to be plusses for the Panthers, Raimer said.
"This was one of our best performances by our offensive line," Raimer said. "We were able to put up over 100 yards on the ground, which is a reflection of our offensive line and running backs getting better each week. Defensively, we were once again able to force turnovers, something that we hope to keep doing week in and week out."
Their work allowed Zach Winkler to gain 56 yards on five carries, Havlik gain 35 on seven tried, Andrew Winders to pick up 41 in five and Treyton Starkey four in three.
They gave Havlik time to complete seven of 19 passes with Hill grabbing one for 30, Lucas Oyen one for six, Michael Winders one for seven and Winkler four for 49.
The Panthers are spending time this week getting ready for undefeated Mineral Point who they host Friday.
"We are just going to focus on what we do and improve on what we already have in place and make sure we are perfecting our style of football," said Raimer. "Mineral Point is a well coached and disciplined team. We are expecting a tough fight this week."

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