Fresh off a 42-20 loss to Blooming Prairie, the New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva Panthers had one last shot to get back on track with section playoffs right around the corner. The Panthers did that Wednesday, recording a 42-0 shutout win over the Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Buccaneers.
WEM was coming off two straight losses in a 35-0 loss to St. Clair/Loyola and a 40-20 loss to Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop, which provided NRHEG with the perfect opportunity to find a win to close the regular season.
What worked in the Panthers favor Wednesday night was their ability to find the end zone on offense, on defense and on special teams.
NRHEG’s offense did a vast majority of the scoring with four of the Panthers six touchdowns, but the other two scores resulted from big plays on defense and on special teams.
Tyrone Wilson and Charlie Nissen both had a pair of touchdowns that came from the ground and through the air.
Wilson hit Sawyer Prigge for a 44-yard touchdown with 2:59 left in the first quarter to open up the game’s scoring. Later on in the third quarter, Wilson scrambled his way for a 17-yard touchdown.
On the kickoff following Wilson and Prigge’s 44-yard connection, the Buccaneers fumbled the Panthers kick, which was scooped up by NRHEG’s Andrew Phillips and returned 20 yards back for a fumble recovery touchdown on special teams.
Not to be outdone, Nissen ran for a 14-yard touchdown halfway through the second quarter and scored NRHEG’s final touchdown by tossing a 3-yard pass near the goal line to Jack Olson for the score.
The Panthers got on the board one last time late in the second quarter when WEM’s Preston Grams was intercepted by Ralph Roesler, who took it to the house for a pick six.
WEM’s offense struggled to keep up with NRHEG from start to finish. The Buccaneers recorded six total turnovers off two interceptions and four fumbles. Their pass game was nonexistent with zero of their seven passes being completed, outside of the two interceptions, for zero receptions.
Wilson and Nissen’s passing touchdowns were the only two passes completed across the entire game. On the ground, Phillips rushed for 44 yards on 22 attempts, along with Wilson’s eight rushes for 17 yards and a touchdown, as well as Nissen’s five rushes for 7 yards and a touchdown.