- Keith Hjelle
Fumbles Foil Chargers; Panorama Prevails, 42-8
Well, the bubble burst. It not only burst. It exploded! The euphoria that Charger fans had experienced over the last couple of weeks turned to misery tonight when Panorama took advantage of at least five Charger fumbles en route to a 42-8 homecoming win for the Panthers.
The game began about as evenly matched as it could be. After Panorama put together a 10 play, 78 yard drive to open the game, ACGC scored on its second possession on a drive that covered 65 yards in 13 plays. With Ben Kingery, Gabe Rowley, and Bryce Littler grinding out the yardage, Rowley put the Chargers on the board with a 10 yard run with 1:21 left in the first quarter. Kingery's two point conversion gave ACGC an 8-7 lead.
How quickly the excitement for Charger fans turned to disappointment. Zach Rizutti returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to give the Panthers a 13-8 lead after the first stanza.
It looked like the Chargers were going to stay with the Panthers, as they drove the ball on their next possession from their own 33 yard line to the Panorama 1 yard line, a drive highlighted by a 28 yard run by Littler to give the Chargers a first down inside the 10 yard line. On second and goal at the four yard line, ACGC coughed up the ball, the Panthers recovered and the downhill slide began. This was the first of five lost fumbles by ACGC that spelled its doom. But even after that first fumble the Chargers held the Panthers and forced them to punt. It was still just a one touchdown game--anybody's game.
But on the Chargers' next four possessions they fumbled the ball away, Panorama took advantage by scoring after three of those miscues, and what was a close game midway through the second quarter became a route by the end of the third.
Midway through the second quarter the Chargers lost the first of those four fumbles. The Panthers then took the ball 65 yards in just six plays, with Trey Cobb going in from the five to give Panorama a 21-8 lead. On its next possession, ACGC again fumbled, Panorama recovered and took the ball to the Charger 2 yard line where the Chargers held and the half ended with a 21-8 lead for Panorama. Chargers are still in it.
But not for much longer. Panorama's onside kick off to start the second half was mishandled by ACGC, Panorama recovered, and marched to the end zone with Luke South passing to Gracen Welburg for 12 yards and a touchdown. Panthers lead 28-8.
Charger fans still had hope, especially after the offense drove the ball on its next possession into Panther territory, with Kingery gaining 24 yards on the drive and Rowley carrying once for 8 yards. But the fumble bug appeared again at the Panorama 35 yard line and the Chargers again turned it over to the Panthers. After an incomplete pass, Cobb picked up 62 yards in two plays including a 40 yard touchdown run to make the score 36-8.
After the Chargers gained one first down on its next possession, ACGC gave up the ball on downs at its own 48 yard line and Panorama scored the final points of the game on a South to Welburg 2 yard pass to make the score 42-8. Most of the fourth quarter was played in Panther territory with neither team hitting pay dirt.
ACGC fans have seen how effective the Charger offense can be in the two games previous to this one, but its success is based on the notion of ball control and retention. Five fumbles, four of which either prevented a Charger score or led to a Panorama score, will doom any offense. Fortunately there is an opportunity for the Chargers to redeem themselves next Friday when they travel to Mount Ayr for the season finale. Go Chargers!
Score by quarters:
ACGC 8 0 0 0--8
Pan 13 8 21 0--42
Passing: Bryce Littler, 3 attempts, 0 completions
Rushing: Ben Kingery, 20 attempts, 120 yards; Bryce Littler, 7-38; Gabe Rowley, 8-39; Reid Rumelhart, 1-4
Tackles: Easton Benson, 3 solo, 0 assists; Gage Buttler, 0-2; Will Byars, 1-2; Gavin Cornelison, 0-1; Charlie Crawford, 2-0; Flavio Gonzalez, 0-1; Spencer Grove, 1-4; Cayden Jensen, 1-0; Ben Kingery, 2-7; Bryce Littler, 1-0; Sam Madsen, 0-2; Lucas Marsh, 4-3; Gabe Rowley, 5-6; Treven Suhr, 0-1; Mike Ure, 3-2; Avery Wheatley, 2-0; Quynton Younker, 6-5
Kick Offs: Will Byers, 1 for 48 yards
Punting: Kolby Jacobe, 3 for average of 34 yards
Kick Off Returns: Charlie Crawford, 1 for 11 yards; Spencer Grove, 2-20; Kolby Jacobe, 1-20
Punt Returns: Charlie Crawford, 2 for average of 9.5 yards