Panthers ride huge comeback to win, now 2-1 in D-SC
One of the biggest passing days in the past quarter century fueled a huge comeback that carried the St. Croix Central football team to a 31-24 win at Glenwood City last Friday.
With the win the Panthers are now 2-1 in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference, needing two more wins to qualify for the state football playoffs. The Panthers will try for their third straight win this Friday, when they play at home. This will be Central's Homecoming game, with winless Boyceville as the opponent.
In beating Glenwood City last Friday, the Panthers scored three touchdowns in a span of 9:11 in the second quarter. This completely turned the game around. After trailing 24-6, this surge tied the game 24-24 at halftime.
The charge started when Jordan Kooiman broke free for a 43-yard touchdown run, cutting the margin to 24-12.
The passing game then started producing big plays. The Panthers are using sophomore Craig Myer in different ways to get him in the open field. That worked Friday, when he scored on a 64-yard pass from Tyler Cody to cut the score to 24-18.
The Panther defense then came up with a big play, when Dustin Hinkel intercepted a Glenwood City pass. The Panthers went into their hurry-up offense, with great results. Cody hit Myer with a 36-yard pass, before connecting with Kooiman on a 31-yard strike.
That set up the Panthers' final touchdown of the half, an 8-yard scoring pass from Cody to tight end Garrett Ullom with two seconds left in the half.
The second half was a standoff for much of the half. The Panthers were able to get the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter. It came on another pass from Cody to Ullom, this time for 16 yards. Ullom had one of the biggest receiving days by a Panther in decades, catching seven balls for 64 yards.
Cody finished 12-20 throwing the ball for 214 yards.
"Steve Sanders (team statistician and former assistant coach) has been here 24 years and he's never seen a 200-yard passing game," Central coach Tony DiSalvo said.
The Panther defense then had to come up with one more big stand to preserve the win. Glenwood's offense had been controlled for most of the second half, but the Hilltoppers put together one final drive. They got into Panther territory, then within the shadow of the Panther goalpost. The Panthers were finally able to force a fourth down incompletion, stopping the Hilltopper drive at the Panther 5-yard line in the final minute of the game.
"Talk about kids growing up fast," DiSalvo gushed. "It was awesome, a really nice win."
The Panthers have speed and they are finding more ways to use it. Four halfbacks shared the ball carrying duties, combining for 159 yards. Add in the 214 yards passing and the Panthers had a big offensive night.
St. Croix Central 31, Glenwood City 24
St. Croix Central 0 24 7 0 31
Glenwood City 8 16 0 0 24
GC -- Jordan Myers, 43 yard run (Perris Kusilek run)
GC -- Myers, 50 yard punt return (Kusilek run)
SCC -- Craig Myer, 28 yard run (run failed)
GC -- Andrew Jeske, 82 yard kickoff return (Zach Lyons pass from Chad Rasmussen
SCC -- Jordan Kooiman, 43 yard run (pass failed)
SCC -- Myer, 64 yard pass from Tyler Cody (run failed)
SCC -- Garrett Ullom, 8 yard pass from Cody (kick blocked)
SCC -- Ullom, 16 yard pass from Cody (Josh Armagost kick)
First Downs 11 12
Rushing Yards 159 178
Passing Yards 214 86
Passes 12-20-1 int. 8-13-1 int.
Penalties 3-15 5-35
SCC -- Jordan Kooiman 9-64; Craig Myer 10-53; Dustin Hinkel 7-23; Adam Delander 2-11
SCC -- Tyler Cody 12-20-1 int; 214 yards
SCC -- Garrett Ullom 7-64; Craig Myer 2-100; Jordan Kooiman 1-31; Dustin Hinkel 1-10; Adam Delander 1-9