Panthers get win in wild Homecoming battle
The fans watching the St. Croix Central Homecoming football game got their money's worth, and a whole lot more. The price of admission for the Homecoming game included an overtime period.
In the overtime the Panthers scored, then kept Colfax out of the end zone to win a crucial Dunn-St. Croix Conference game, 20-14.
The win raises the Panthers D-SC record to 2-2, while sticking Colfax with its first loss in conference play this season.
Central got the ball first in the overtime and only needed two plays to score. Senior halfback Craig Myer gained seven yards on the first play. That worked so well that the coaches called Myer's number again, and he blasted through a hole in the middle of the line into the end zone in the second play.
Colfax then got its turn from the 10-yard line in the overtime. The Panther defense stopped the Vikings for one yard on two consecutive running plays.
The Vikes saw they weren't going to reach the end zone on the ground, so they tried to pass. The pass attempts on third and fourth down both fell incomplete, giving Central its Homecoming victory.
It took a strong all-around effort, the type of effort coach Tony DiSalvo was hoping to see, for the Panthers to come out on top in Friday's game.
"That was certainly a huge win, our kids played very well," DiSalvo said.
While losing to Colfax would not have eliminated the Panthers from playoff contention, it would have made the final three games of the season must-wins for the Panthers. The Panthers now hope they can get rolling and finish the season with four straight wins. They have Mondovi, Spring Valley and Unity remaining on the schedule. That string starts with the Panthers playing at Mondovi this Friday. They then will play at Spring Valley next Wednesday.
Friday's game with Colfax had two evenly matched teams squaring off and that showed in the final statistics. Central finished the game with 242 yards of offense in the game, compared to 241 for Colfax.
The Panthers were able to consistently move the ball on the ground during the game. Myer had 20 carries for 60 yards from his halfback post. Junior fullback Brady Hughes showed his breakaway ability in this game. He had 94 yards rushing, but 82 of those yards came on two plays. Hughes scored the first touchdown of the game when he burst through the line for a 30-yard score late in the first quarter.
Hughes also scored late in the second quarter. This time he broke away for 52 yards. The two-point conversion run by quarterback Jeff Fern gave the Panthers a 14-7 lead.
Colfax's touchdown in the second quarter came on a bad decision by the Panthers. Central had been winning the field position battle and had the ball at midfield when the Panthers were forced to punt. At the line the Panther players audibled to a fake punt, which Colfax smelled out and stopped. That gave the Vikings good field position and they turned it into their first touchdown.
DiSalvo said he felt the Panthers played well on the defensive side of the ball, except for two plays. Both Colfax touchdowns came on fade patterns from quarterback Jeff Brewer to receiver Andy Berres.
The Panther defensive front limited Colfax to less than three yards per carry. DiSalvo said senior tackle Jessie Johnson had a strong night, chasing down several of the Colfax running plays.
In most of their games this season the Panthers have also shown they can be a disciplined team. They only committed two penalties in Friday's game, compared to six by Colfax.
DiSalvo said it is that kind of disciplined play the Panthers will need if they want to reach the playoffs.
"We need to take care of our own destiny," DiSalvo said.
St. Croix Central 20, Colfax 14 in OT
Colfax 0 7 0 7 0 14
St. Croix Central 6 8 0 0 6 20
SCC -- Brady Hughes, 30 yard run (kick failed)
Col -- Andy Berres, 17 yard pass from Jeff Brewer (Josh Borofka kick)
SCC -- Hughes, 52 yard run (Jeff Fern run)
Col -- Berres, 12 yard pass from Brewer (Borofka kick)
SCC -- Craig Myer, 3 yard run (kick failed)
First Downs 11 11
Rushing Yards 190 122
Passing Yards 52 119
Passes 5-11-0 int. 10-20-2 int.
Penalties 2-25 6-30
SCC -- Brady Hughes 10-94; Craig Myer 20-60; Jeff Fern 8-22; Willie White 4-6; Tony Wiersgalla 2-2
SCC -- Jeff Fern 5-11-0 int; 52 yards
SCC -- Ryan Fedie 3-30; Brady Hughes 1-12; Tom Redmon 1-10