Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2018

Clipper comeback sinks Panthers

Mt. Pleasant football team loses halftime lead, drops opener 26-7
Aug 27, 2018
Photo by: Andy Krutsinger Logan Bass breaks free on a run during Mt. Pleasant’s 26-7 loss to Clear-Creek Amana on Friday night.

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News

 

Game one of the Mt. Pleasant football season was finally here on Friday night, giving Panther fans a taste of the year to come. Unfortunately, a second-half unraveling left a bitter taste in Mt. Pleasant’s mouth when it was all said and done.

The Panther defense dominated the first half and seemed to be in control, but Clear Creek-Amana stunned the home team with 26-straight second half points to take the opener, 26-7.

The Panthers played a little pitch and catch early on and backed the CCA defense up early and often. Quarterback Zach Beason connected with receievers at a frenetic pace, moving the Panthers down field.

Mt. Pleasant had a handful of promising drives, thanks in part to a flurry of catches on the sideline by Chase Lamm. A two-yard QB sneak from Beason and an extra point by David Blancas gave the Panthers a 7-0 lead in the final minute of the first quarter, but that score was sandwiched by a couple of drive-stalling interceptions that soiled a number of potential points.

Despite a great showing from the Mt. Pleasant defense and multiple trips past the 50, the Panthers led just 7-0 into the break, something Coach Shawn Striegel says was a bit of a disappointment.

“We thought that we should have been able to score more in the first half,” Striegel says. “We liked the intensity of the kids (and) we liked what we were doing schematically, but we just weren’t able to convert on some big third down and the interceptions hurt us.”

A big concern for the Panthers at halftime was a fatigued group, especially on the outside skill positions. For many in the wide reciever core and secondary, it was their first game playing both ways.

CCA took full advantage of a winded Panther team in the second half. The Clippers scored on their first four posessions, including two monster plays downfield, an 84 yard touchdown reception by Sam Stevens and a 51-yard run by Zach Kabbage.

“Second half, we just ran out of gas,” Striegel says. “They didn’t do anything differently than they did in the first half, offensively or defensively.”

The Panther offense, that was able to move the ball well in the first half, became stagnent in the third and fourth quarters. That combined with big CCA plays led to a 19-7 deficit after three quarters, and a Clipper rushing touchdown early in the fourth quarter put the icing on the cake.

Beason finished the game 21-33 for 188 yards and two interceptions. Lamm caught almost half of those passes, catching 10 balls for 89 yards. Levi Puig caught six passes for 62 yards. Rylan Seberg had two catches for 14 yards, and three other Panthers finished with one reception.

Logan Bass led the team in rushing yards, taking seven carries for 58 yards. He also caught one pass for 11 yards.

The Panthers have a lot of work to do this week as they prepare for one of the best teams in the state, the Pella Dutch. Coach Striegel says plans to tweak rotations and fit more players in should help out the fatigue factor before next Friday.

“They’re going to be better this week just because they’re more used to it, but we need some better rotations and we also need some younger kids to do some things they need to. We need to get some guys to step up.”

That game will be at Pella, the first road game of the year for Mt. Pleasant. Kick-off time is at 7:30 p.m.

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