WINTHROP — Clinching the game with a heart-pounding goal line stand, the NRHEG football team moved to 2-0 with a thrilling 26-20 victory over Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop in South Central District, Blue Division action on Thursday night.

After Thunderbirds drove deep into the red zone in the game’s final moments, the Panthers stuffed G-F-W at the 2-yard line with roughly six seconds on the clock. The Thunderbirds attempted to run one final play, but were unable to snap the ball before the final seconds dripped off the clock.

NRHEG scored the game-deciding touchdown in the see-saw battle when Andrew Phillips broke a 20-20 tie by finding the end zone from four yards out with 1 minute, 58 seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter. Phillips also scored on a 2-yard run with just five seconds left before halftime and finished with 106 yards on the ground.

Kordell Schlaak hooked up with Bo Budach for a pair of touchdowns on passes of 73 and 23 yards. Budach led both teams with a career-high 122 receiving yards while Schlaak finished 13 for 22 for 241 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Both teams ran 51 plays and G-F-W out-gained NRHEG, 411 to 332, in total yardage. The Panthers, though, won the turnover battle 2-0, falling on a pair of fumbles.

New Richland is back in action when it hosts Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial on Friday, Oct. 23.

Reach sports editor Jon Weisbrod at 444-2375, or follow him on @OPPJonW. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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