Royall was defeated for the second time on its home field, taking a 25-14 loss against Dairyland’s Melrose-Mindoro Sept. 8.
“We hung in with them all night,” Royall Head Coach Ryan Olson said. “We didn’t get blown out it was a good game.”
The game remained scoreless until the second quarter when Mustangs Brett Gerdes broke through the middle of the pack for a 63-yard touchdown, with a successful extra point the Mustangs took a 7-0 lead with 11:35 left in the second quarter. On the Panthers third down, Seth Brown’s pass intended for Dane Hyer was intercepted by Melrose-Mindoro’s Patrick Corcoran, who marched 20 yards to the Panthers 42-yard line. Panther defense was able to put a stop to the Mustangs with 3:24 left in the quarter.
But the team faced the same fate with two minutes left in the quarter when Panthers quarterback Josh Kolodzinski’s pass to Hyer was intercepted by Mustangs Jeremy Anderson who rushed to the Panthers 31-yards to take over at the Panthers 34-yard line. While the Panther defense kept them from gaining additional ground, Mustang’s Victor Ponterio successful 42-yard field goal put the Panthers behind 10-0 at halftime.
“Turnovers kill you but the guys didn’t hang their heads at all they kept going and they went out and played defense,” Olson said.
The Mustangs lengthened its lead in the third quarter with a touchdown from Mustang’s Anthony to put the score at 17-0 with 4:18 left in the quarter. Royall’s chance to score came with three minutes left in the quarter on its fifteen yard line, but Kolodinski’s pass to Hyer was intercepted in the end zone.
“We had momentum going our way, took a shot and got intercepted,” Olson said. “(The) ball goes one way or the other every time. It was a tough play.”
In the fourth quarter, Royall’s Seth Brown rushed 42-yards on an interception a pass from Mustangs quarterback Drew Blaken to score the first touchdown for the Panthers. Brown ran the ball in for a successful two-point conversion to put the score at 17-8 with 8:25 left in the game. On the Panther’s two-yard line with 1:34 left in the game Blaken ran the ball in for a Mustang touchdown for a 25-8 score.
As the clock ticked down, the Panthers marched a total of 80 yards to put them at its twelve-yard line. With 38 seconds left in the game, Brown’s ten-yard pass to Hyer resulted in a touchdown to close the gap by six, the two-point conversion was unsuccessful to conclude the game.
“We were down three scores I told them this determines how the rest of the season is going to go,” Olson said. “They looked good they moved the ball they were quick and they didn’t give up,” he said. “I was very proud of them.”
The Panthers (1-3, 0-1 SBC) return to Sceinic Bluffs Conference play Sept. 15 against Necedah (1-3, 0-2 SBC) at home. Olson said it has been 14 years since the Panthers have won against the Cardinals. The game will start at 7p.m.
“That’s going to change this year were ready to go and were excited to go out and play a physical game against them,” Olson said.