Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 20, 2018

Panthers lose nail-biter in Washington

Sep 11, 2017
Photo by: Andy Krutsinger Jordan Magnani leaps to break up a pass early in the game on Friday night.

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News


WASHINGTON — Mt. Pleasant gave the ninth-ranked Washington all they could handle on Friday night but a controversial call and a pick-six doomed the Panthers in their district opener.

Washington came back from a 7-0 deficit at halftime to score the next 16 points of the ballgame and hang on with a 16-14 victory.

Defense ruled the day for the first two quarters, especially the first, which was scoreless. Both the Panthers and Demons had touchdowns called back due to penalties and the two rivals were knotted up after 12 minutes.

Mt. Pleasant was the first team to draw blood when senior running back Brody McGhghy capped off a 78-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run midway through the second period. David Blancas hit the extra point with 6:40 left and the Panthers held a 7-0 lead.

The Panther defense held the Demons the entire first half. Washington backup quarterback Luke Turner, who stepped in for an injured Ryan Reighard on the offensive side of the ball, led Washington to a couple of field goal attempts but both fell just short. After one half of play, Mt. Pleasant held a 7-0 lead.

The game turned on its head in the third quarter on a Washington punt. Junior punter Sam Hall seemingly pinned Mt. Pleasant’s offense down at its three-yard line, but after a long discusison by the officials, it was ruled that the ball deflected off a Panther before it trickled inside the five.

Much to the dismay of the visiting fans, Washington was given the ball at the three-yard line. Redlinger punched it in two plays later and an Anthony Torres PAT tied the game up, 7-7.

The two teams traded turnovers to end the third period. Thomas Zimmer picked off Panther quarterback Zac Beason at the Washington 41 but Jake Lowe took the ball back for Mt. Pleasant on a fumble recovery shortly afterwards.

A Demon fumble at midfield at Mt. Pleasant cooking in the fourth quarter. James DeMeyer fell on the loose ball for the Panthers’ third recovery of the day. Chase Lamm had one on a fake punt earlier in the game.

DeMeyer’s play set up a drive that at one point sat on the Washington 22-yard line. A couple Panther penalties backed Mt. Pleasant up, however, and they were forced to punt the ball away.

Washington finally grabbed the lead with four minutes remaining on a field goal by Torres that broke the tie. Less than 30 seconds later, Jacob Hall picked off Beason and took it to the house. The PAT was botched but the Demons held a 16-7 lead almost in the blink of an eye.

Mt. Pleasant didn’t quit. A couple long passes to Lamm set up a touchdown run by Beason to help cut the lead to 16-14 with 1:26 left. The Panthers seemed to recover the onside kick, but the kick was ruled illegal, and on the next try it was the Demons who fell on the ball and secured the victory.

“Rivalry games are crazy,” said Washington head coach Garrison Carter about the win. “The first half we couldn’t get anything to go right for us. At halftime, we challenged our kids to come out and make plays...We had a ton of kids rise up and make huge plays in the second half, and ultimately we were able to do enough to win the game.”

On the other side, Mt. Pleasant coach Shawn Striegel said felt the Panthers let one get away, but that he was proud of his players for never giving up.

“I tell you the kids, there was no quit in them at all,” Strigel said. “There was about 90 seconds that I would like to have back but (the kids) never gave up hope.”

Both teams have another huge game on Friday, Sept. 15. Washington (3-0, 1-0) travels to Solon, the district favorite, and Mt. Pleasant (2-1, 0-1) hosts Oskaloosa, another playoff team from last season. Both of those contests will start at 7:30 p.m.

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