Birds spoil the reunion of panthers | Newspaper


After a week of homecoming activities, the Litchfield Purple Panthers brought an exciting week to an end when they returned to Lloyd Hill Field. Southwestern Piasa Birds would not be kind visitors as they would dampen Litchfield’s returning spirit with a 55-0 victory.

After a week off due to the COVID protocol, the Panthers would struggle to shake things up throughout the contest. Litchfield, who topped 200 yards offensive in his season debut, would have a hard time moving football against the Piasa Birds as they would only be making 54 total offensive yards.

On the other side of the ball, the Piasa Birds, who scored a big win over Trenton-Wesclin in Week 2, would total 55 points but only go over 350 yards overall.

The lack of number of infractions but the high points total would come from the exceptional position on the field that the Piasa Birds would have throughout the competition.

Southwestern would only have to start on their own end of the field three times out of nine possessions because they would start on average at the Panthers 48-yard line. With this position on the field not, many yards would be needed to score points on the board.

While Southwestern would gain an excellent field position, the Panthers would start on average on their own 25.

After a three and a start to start the game with the Panthers, Southwestern would begin their first possession on the Litchfield 38-yard line. A few plays later, Southwestern put the first points on the board when Jacob Fisher scampered 28 yards to the end zone. Collin Robinson would add the extra points giving the Piasa Birds a 7-0 lead with 8:39 left in the first quarter.

Just over five minutes later, the Piasa Birds struck again, this time in the air. Southwestern quarterback Quinten Strohbeck would connect on a 45-yard touchdown pass to Gavin Day. The extra point would be missed as Southwestern would now have a 13-0 lead with just over three minutes left in the first quarter.

Southwestern would put more points on the board just over a minute later and this time it would come from his defense. A mistake in the Panthers’ offense would result in safety, as Southwestern would now hold a 15-0 lead.

The Piasa Birds would not be done scoring in the first quarter as Strohbeck would complete his second assist of the game and his second touchdown of the game. The strike would go to Jacob Fisher for his second touchdown of the game, as he landed the 44-yard touchdown pass.

Southwestern would rack up 21 points in the first quarter which would all be collected in six minutes and 11 seconds.

Leading by three touchdowns, Southwestern would collect more points in the second quarter. With 9:29 left in the half, Blake Funk would complete a two-game streak to give the Piasa Birds a 28-0 lead in the second quarter. Funk would get both runs in the series as he would take the ball from Litchfield’s 46 to the Panthers six-yard line and then end the series with a six-yard touchdown.

Southwestern would get six more points on the board before halftime expires. Gavin Day would get his first touchdown of the game as he entered the end zone from five yards. The touchdown would give Southwestern a 34-0 halftime lead.

Litchfield would have some bright spots in the first half as Drew Hartzell would rack up 12 rushing yards on four carries and also rack up 19 of 32 receiving yards in the first half. On the defensive end of the ball, Blake Balestri, Keaton Case and Owen Baugher would help lead the Panthers.

In the first heat of the second half, the Piasa Birds would start on their side of the field for only the second time in the competition. Southwestern would take the opening game of the second half and put the ball in the end zone.

It would be Gavin Day’s second touchdown of the contest as he ran 55 yards to pay for the dirt giving Southwestern a 41-0 lead. Touching down early would mean an early evening for fans as the clock would now continue to run due to Southwestern holding a lead of over 40 points.

Just over a minute later, Lane Gage would give Southwestern a 48-0 lead as he ran 22 yards to the end zone.

Again, that would be a great field position for Southwestern as they would start on Litchfield’s 26-yard line after picking up a Litchfield fumble at kickoff. Southwestern added seven more points in the fourth quarter when Gage ran for 26 yards to give the Piasa Birds a 55-0 lead.

Even though the Panthers couldn’t get anything to click throughout the contest, they would never give up and keep fighting throughout the game.

With a clock running, the Panthers would run seven plays in the second half, racking up 23 yards on those plays. Allowing the Piasa Birds to start on the Litchfield side for the majority of their series would put the Panthers on their heels.

Litchfield would also help the Piasa Birds as they would commit over 10 penalties for over 70 yards. The Panthers will look to turn the tide next Friday, September 17, when they venture out of the South Central Conference, but the trip wouldn’t be far. Even though it will be uncharted territory on the grill, Litchfield will remain in Montgomery County as they travel to Nokomis.

September 10 in Litchfield

West (3-0) 21 13 14 7 55

Litchfield (0-3) 0 0 0 0 0

Rating summary

1st – 8:39 – (SW) – Jacob Fisher 28 yard TD run Collin Robinson (good kick)

1st – 3:30 p.m. – (SW) – Reception of a 45-yard TD by Gavin Day from Quinten Strohbeck (extra point failed)

1st – 2:19 – (SW) – Security

1st – 1:28 – (SW) – Jacob Fisher receiving a 44-yard TD from Quinten Strohbeck (extra point failed)

2nd – 9:29 – (SW) – Blake Funk 6 yards TD Collin Robinson (good kick)

2nd – 1:32 – (SW) – Gavin Day 5 yards TD run (extra point failed)

3rd – 11:38 – (SO) – Gavin Day 55 yards TD run Collin Robinson (good kick)

3rd – 10:10 – (SW) – Lane Gage 22 yards TD Run Collin Robinson (good kick) 0-48

4th – 11:51 – (SW) – Lane Gage 26 yards TD Run Collin Robinson (good kick)

Litchfield statistics (31-54)

Pass (5-16-27): Tate Dobirnich 5-16-21.

Rush (15-27): Drew Hartzell 7-28, Martavious Jones 1-4, Tate Dobrinich 2-3, AJ Sypherd 2-1, Jake Cunningham 3 – (- 9).

Reception (5-27): Drew Hartzell 3-14, Keenan Powell 1-9, Martavious Jones 1-4.

Statistics Gillespie (37-378)

Pass (4-4-104): Quinten Strohbeck 4-4-104.

Rushing (20-219): Gavin Day 11-90, Lane Gage 6-73, Blake Funk 5-60, Jacob Fisher 5-41, Marcus Payne 5-11, Quinten Strohbeck 1- (-1).

Reception (4-104): Gavin Day 1-45, Jacob Fisher 1-44, Charlie Darr 2-15.


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