Panthers rolled by eighth-ranked Demons, 51-7
By ASHLEE DE WIT
Mt. Pleasant News
The coaches knew it, the players knew it, and the fans knew it — Friday night’s football game between Mt. Pleasant and Washington was the latest between two teams with a long history.
In this year’s edition of the rivalry, however, Mt. Pleasant was no match for Class 3A No. 8 Washington, and the Panthers fell to the Demons by a score of 51-7.
“I’m proud of the kids — I thought they played hard,” Mt. Pleasant Coach Shawn Striegel said “But 51-7 isn’t easy to take when it’s Washington.”
The Demons (6-1, 4-0) were the heavy favorite coming into the game against Mt. Pleasant (0-7, 0-4), but both teams were still prepared for a battle.
“The Mt. Pleasant/Washington game is a long-time rivalry,” Washington Coach Randy Schrader said. “We really stressed that to our guys, the importance of this rivalry. That was enough to get them motivated. When it’s Mt. Pleasant and Washington, records go out the window.”
And that message certainly got through to the Demon players.
“This is one of the oldest rivalries in the state,” Washington’s Carl Sivels said. “We have a lot of coaches that played for Washington, so they kept us motivated too. The whole town is rooting for us — we know this is bigger than us.”
Washington wasted no time getting on the board in Friday’s game, as Alex Coker ran 34 yards for a touchdown just 16 seconds into the first quarter. It was the first of five rushing touchdowns for the Demons on the night. Coker, the team’s leading rusher, picked up a team-high 113 yards in seven tries on the night.
Mason Quigley’s extra point was good, and Washington took a 7-0 lead.
They made it 13-0 on a 25-yard run into the endzone by Sivels. The PAT was good for a 14-0 lead with 8:49 left in the first quarter.
The Demons scored four times in the first 12 minutes of the game — Daryn Sebelius made a 16-yard touchdown pass to Gage Redlinger and Tanner Knupp made a 5-yard touchdown run. Quigley’s kick was good for both.
Washington added four more scores in the second quarter. Sebelius made a 3-yard run and found Redlinger in the end zone again, this time with a 28-yard throw. Coker made a 1-yard touchdown run and Quigley kicked a 38-yard field goal.
“Our offensive line did a great job, and our backs run hard,” Schrader said. “We put a lot of time in the weight room.
“Daryn (Sebelius) also does a great job distributing the ball,” he added.
Jacob Hennigan gained 68 yards on the night and Bryce Rickey had 54. Sivels picked up 48 yards.
“The offensive line is very tough,” Sivels said. “They make it easy for us.”
The Panthers had a tough time even picking up a first down against the Demon starters in the first half.
Their only touchdown came on a 14-yard run by quarterback Dustin Amos, who did a good job scrambling in the game and picked up a team-high 27 rushing yards.
Zoom Gwamna’s extra point attempt was good.
On the night, Spencer White had 23 yards on the ground for Mt. Pleasant and Carson Remick had 20. Gwamna made an 11-yard run.
Amos was 1-for-7 passing. The only completion was a 1-yard throw to Justin Dilks.
“Our kids had a great week of practice, and they were motivated to play,” Striegel said. “Several times we were in great position, but their kids are very athletic and were able to stop us. We’re going to come back Monday and fix the things we need to fix.”
The Panthers have district opponents Keokuk and Williamsburg left on the schedule. They travel to Keokuk next week before hosting Williamsburg in the final game of the regular season.
“Williamsburg is a very talented team,” Striegel said. “Keokuk is struggling but we’ve seen some tape, and they have some good size and strong backs.”
Washington hosts Ft. Madison in their senior night game this week.
“We (as seniors) want to leave a lasting legacy on Case Field,” Sivels said. “We’ve been playing there since fifth grade. We just want to go out, have fun, enjoy the night, and come out with a win.”
The Demons end the regular season against Centerville.
“Our goal every week is to improve,” Schrader said. “We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.”