~ by Trevor Phipps ~
The Panther football team struggled at home last Friday night during a post-snowstorm match, when temperatures dropped to the low 30s mercury level.
Despite being cheered on in the frigid temperatures by a crowd that nearly filled the stands, the Panthers fell to Lamar 56 to 19.
The Panthers started off well and at first it didn’t look like the game was going to turn out to be a blow-out. The Panthers got the ball to start the game and quickly drove down the field.
A big play brought the Panthers into Lamar territory and then a couple of botched plays made it third down. On third and long, Panther quarterback Colin Kucera went deep and connected with wide receiver Tyler Baldus on a long passing play that put the Panthers on the Lamar 3-yard line. On first and goal, Kucera connected with Bryson Cox for a three-yard touchdown pass that made the Panthers the first team to light up the scoreboard.
The Panthers then kicked off to Lamar and tried a trick play they have used off and on all year. The Panthers lined up for an onside kick and then faked it and got re-aligned for a normal kickoff play.
During this kickoff trick play attempt, the Lamar special teams was drawn offside, giving the Panthers a kickoff from a closer location.
Lamar took the kickoff and then went three plays and out on offense. They were then forced to punt. The Panther offense took over after receiving the punt. But during their second play, the Panthers threw an interception and Lamar returned the ball for a big pick six.
The game’s momentum then changed and not in the favor of the Panthers. Lamar then got the ball back after a Panther punt and scored on a 70-yard touchdown pass, making the score 14-7.
The Lamar defense then forced the Panthers to punt again while their offense quickly went down the field and scored a touchdown. By the end of the first quarter the Panthers were already down by a score of 21-7.
The scoring in the first half didn’t end there for Lamar as they found the end zone two more times and earned a safety for two more points making the halftime score 37-7 in favor of Lamar.
In the second half, Panther quarterback Kucera connected with Cox for two more touchdown pass completions to score a total of 19 points for the Panthers. But, it proved to be too little and too late as Lamar also scored two more touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters. This sealed their victory by quite a high margin.
As for improvements, The Panthers need to get better defensively and figure out how to stop teams that can pass the ball effectively. The Panthers also need to get better with their passing game and eliminate the amount of interceptions they suffer.
Next week, the Panthers have another home game as they take on their league rivals, the Manitou Mustangs. The Panthers have a chance to beat the struggling 2-4 Mustangs. Hopefully, they can end their two-game losing streak this Friday night. Their final home game then occurs against Elizabeth.