2017-10-19 / Sports

Pickford Panthers Run Away With the Win Against Trojans in Rivalry Football Game

By Jacob A. Ball

As the football game began Thursday night, October 12, the Cedarville Trojans appeared ready to challenge the undefeated Pickford Panthers for first place in the conference. With a blocked punt on Pickford’s first possession, and the first points on the board, the Trojans had captured the momentum early on. Momentum would not remain on their side, though, as five turnovers and four failed fourth down conversions would stall the Trojans’ potent offense. Until shortly after halftime, the game remained in the balance, but several big plays from Pickford would seal their victory to remain undefeated. The Panthers defeated the Trojans 47-8 in the longstanding EUP rivalry.

The Panthers will now look to clinch a championship against conference rival the Rudyard Bulldogs. With a win, the 7-1 Bulldogs could steal the title from the Panthers. Out of the title race, Cedarville looks to finish the season on high note against the 4-4 Brimley Bays. The postseason begins for both teams the following week with the district tournament.

Of the contest with the Panthers, Cedarville Coach Scott Barr said the performance of his team was not indicative of his players’ talent level.

“Normally, we’re a very disciplined team. It’s not that we weren’t prepared. The team had a great week of practice. It was just a bizarre turn of events… take nothing away from Pickford, because they’re a great team, but we weren’t capitalizing and executing the way we normally do,” the coach said.

Going into the playoffs he hopes his young team will continue to learn, and will not again find themselves in a similar situation. He believes his team will be ready for the playoffs and is capable of beating anyone. It will all come down to discipline, execution, and playing mistake-free football.

Without singling out any one player, Pickford Head Coach Josh Rader said, “We just played good as a team, as a unit, and guys were doing what they needed to.”

There are still facets of the performance that he believes the Panthers squad needs to improve upon before their postseason play begins.

“We had a lot of penalties tonight, mental mistakes. We’ve got to clean that up, especially as we’re going into the playoffs. That’s something we don’t want to be doing,” Coach Rader said.

Pickford Panthers

Player of the Game: WR Nick Edington, one reception, 81 yards, TD, and blocked punt returned 28 yards, TD.

Edington may not have been involved heavily throughout the game, but his two touches produced points at the most decisive moment. The second half began with Cedarville receiving the kickoff down by only six points, 14-8, and the game looked very much within reach. After converting one first down, the drive would stall on account of a holding penalty. As the Trojans snapped the ball to punt it away, Edington sliced his way quickly through the blockers, extended into the air, and just barely reached the ball as it left the Cedarville punter’s foot. Without delay, he scooped up the free ball and sprinted into the end zone untouched. This play would give Pickford a much more comfortable advantage up 12 points in the second half, but he wasn’t done yet.

Play of the Game: 81-yard touchdown pass from Jonah Bailey to Nick Edington.

On the ensuing Cedarville possession, the Trojans would drive the ball inside the Pickford 10-yard line, but a forced fumble by Nolan Benson wiped away their chance at cutting into the lead. After a few short runs up to the 19-yard line, the Panthers took a shot deep across the middle. The pass arrived with the defender only a step behind and the game still close, but Edington extended for the catch without missing a stride. The Trojans defensive back was quickly losing ground, and Edington broke free for the Panthers’ longest reception and scoring play of the season.

Cedarville Trojans

Player of the Game: RB Gunnar Fountain, 19 rushes, 80 yards, TD, and 3 receptions, 25 yards.

With 105 yards of offense, Fountain accounted for more than a third of the Trojans’ 283 total yards. On Cedarville’s second possession, and only scoring drive, of the game he would account for every yard on the way to the end zone. On his fourth carry of the drive, Fountain hustled around the left side of the defense and outpace the defender to the pylon for the touchdown. Throughout the game, he continued to exhibit this level of drive, even as his team’s chances at victory faded away.

Play of the Game: Blocked punt and recovery by Sean Bale.

Although the Trojans did not score on the play, the hustle and determination to get to the punter highlighted Cedarville’s winning mentality. After Pickford committed several penalties on their opening drive to squash any chance at a quick lead, Bale found his way through on third down and 17 yards, cleanly blocked the punt by Pickford’s Nick Edington, and then recovered the loose ball at the 15- yard line.

Statistics

Pickford Panthers

Passing: Jonah Bailey, 2-6, 81 yards, TD, Lane Warner, 1-1, two yards

Rushing (34 rushes, 187 yards, 3 TDs): John Lamothe, 10 rushes, 63 yards; Joey Boik, six rushes, 58 yards, TD; Matt Bush, five rushes, 41 yards, TD; Lane Warner, nine rushes, 33 yards.

Receiving (three receptions, 83 yards, TD): Nick Edington, one reception, 81 yards, TD; John Lamothe, one reception, two yards.

Defensive (48 tackles, eight tackles for loss, one sack, four fumbles recovered, one interception, four pass breakups, one punt block): James Storey, 18 tackles, one tackle for loss; Lane Warner, 14 tackles, 1 interception; John Lamothe, 10 tackles, three pass breakups; Joey Boik, seven tackles, one tackle for loss; Matt Bush, seven tackles; Garrett Dodds, six tackles, two tackles for loss, one fumble recovery; Garrett Reed, three tackles; Chase Warner, three tackles, one sack; Nolan Benson, three tackles, one fumble recovery; Nick Edington, three tackles, one fumble recovery, one punt block, fumble recovery, one punt block, one fumble recovery, TD; Jonah Bailey, one tackle, one fumble recovery.

Cedarville Trojans

Passing: Trey Norris, 12-28, 155 yards, 1 INT.

Rushing (41 rushes, 128 yards, 1 TD): Gunnar Fountain, 19 rushes, 80 yards, 1 TD; Trey Norris, 17 rushes, 61 yards.

Receiving (12 receptions, 155 yards): Dakota Fairchild, four receptions, 65 yards; Gunnar Fountain, three receptions, 25 yards; Sean Bale, one reception, 32 yards; Trevor Kohlmann, two receptions, 16 yards; Grant Fountain, one reception, 11 yards; Tristan Masuga, one reception, six yards.

Defensive: Trey Norris, eight tackles; Jarron Masuga, seven tackles; Sean Bale, one punt block, one fumble recovery.

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