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Panthers shutout Chiefs in lopsided battle

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Annika Pepper

Sophomore Barrett Schmidlkofer looks to break free and tackle an opposing Chief. The Panther defense held the Chiefs to just 89 total yards while also sacking sophomore quarterback Hayes Herzog five times.

Ben Barkley, Sports Editor

After destroying Whitewater in a one-sided affair, the Panthers continued region play against bitter rival McIntosh. Just like last week, Starr’s Mill took over right at the beginning and never slowed down, producing a shutout 34-0 win.

Just run it straight down their throats, and the score showed that they couldn’t stop it.”

— senior quarterback Hunter Lawson

“[The team] is starting to come together,” head coach Chad Phillips said. “Eight games in a row is brutal, but it was good to win this last one.”

Starr’s Mill had a dominant game on both sides of the ball, totaling 334 total yards. Leading the way was senior Ben Bodne, who rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown. Senior Kalen Sims ran for 62 yards and a touchdown, and senior Karsen Kalen ran for 63 yards and two touchdowns. 

In the passing game, senior Hunter Lawson only completed one pass, but it was a 40-yard touchdown pass to junior Gavin Necessary.

Defensively, the Panthers only allowed 89 total yards for the Chiefs, and sacked sophomore quarterback Hayes Herzog five times.

The Chiefs struggled throughout the entire game, with most of their 89 yards coming in the fourth quarter. Herzog threw for 91 yards and an interception in a tough game for the young sophomore. 

Running wise, senior Matthew Alum and junior Mason McPeters were the only Chiefs to run for positive yardage, as the rest of the backs were held to negative yardage. 

“It’s a good win,” Sims said. “But we can’t let it get to our heads ‘cause we’ve got Riverdale coming up. If we can beat them, we can clinch the region title.”

Annika Pepper
Senior Karsen Kalen looks to score. Kalen led the way in touchdowns for the Panthers, scoring twice on 63 yards. Senior Ben Bodne led the way in total yardage with 80 yards and a touchdown.

McIntosh got quick momentum to start the game, recovering a fumble on the Panthers opening drive. However, the Panther defense stuffed the Chiefs at the line of scrimmage, forcing a quick three and out. 

This continued throughout the quarter, keeping the score locked at zero at the end of the first quarter.

Scoring finally came into play in the second quarter, as Kalen found the endzone to make the score 7-0. To counter the great offensive play, the Panther defense their dominance, forcing many sacks and stuffing running backs at the line of scrimmage.

With three minutes left in the half, Sims found the endzone to increase the lead to 14-0. The defense closed the half out after that, giving Starr’s Mill a 14-0 lead heading into halftime.

“Our game plan was pretty much the same against Whitewater,” Lawson said. “Just run it straight down their throats, and the score showed that they couldn’t stop it.”

In the third quarter, the Panthers went off, playing out of their minds throughout the quarter. To start, junior Nate Kearns forced an interception, and Kalen followed it up with his second touchdown of the night to make the score 21-0.

Eleven seconds later, the Panthers recovered a fumble off a quarterback pressure, giving possession back to the offense. On the next play, Lawson found Necessary in the end zone to increase the lead to 28-0.

Defensively, the Panthers continued to sack Herzog left and right, proving that the Panther defense is one of the best in the region. 

Offensively, Starr’s Mill was not done, as Bodne punched it in to make the score 34-0 after a missed PAT at the end of the third quarter.

“When you get to sit on the sidelines and see your defense go to town, it’s always a good feeling,” Lawson said. “They were prepared to the absolute perfect amount and played outstandingly.”

The fourth quarter saw the second stringers from both teams come out and finish the game as the game clock kept rolling. 

Despite this, the 2nd stringers on the defense still kept the Chiefs off the scoreboard for the rest of the game, completing the shutout with a 34-0 win.

“We had to come into this game and hit them hard,” Sims said. “Coming down here, we knew that if everybody executed and everyone did their jobs, we would come out with a win, and that’s what happened tonight.”

McIntosh now sits at a record of 2-5 with a 1-2 region record. They stay at home to take on a hard hitting Griffin Bears team next week.

This win gives the Panthers a 5-3 record, with a 3-1 region record. They get a much deserved bye week next week.

However, in two weeks, the team gets another hard matchup against the 6-1 Riverdale High School Raiders. The Raiders are currently the only undefeated team in the region. A win for the Panthers should mean a history clinching fourth straight region championship.

The Panthers travel to Tara Stadium to take on Riverdale on Nov. 1. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.