Defense keys Panthers' 21-7 victory 2
For most of the first half, the Park Rapids defensive unit had problems stopping Roseau's offense.
One play by the Panthers' defense late in the first half turned the momentum around.
Park Rapids recovered a fumble in the end zone to stop Roseau from scoring for the second time in three first-half possessions. The Panthers then marched down the field to score the go-ahead touchdown right before halftime en route to a 21-7 Section 8AAA football victory.
"This was a very big win for us," said Park Rapids head coach Aaron Morris, whose team improved to 2-2. "It was good to get a win on the road against a good football program and get back to .500. This should be a big confidence builder for us."
Roseau took the opening kickoff and marched 76 yards in nine plays to take the early lead. A 47-yard run by quarterback Kevin Erickson to the Park Rapids 19 set up a 3-yard TD pass from Erickson to Matt Bailey on fourth down. That score gave the Rams a 7-0 lead with 8:01 to play in the first quarter.
Tucker Coborn had two carries for 13 yards and John Drury had an 11-yard run as the Panthers marched into Roseau territory on the ensuing series. That drive stalled and the Panthers were forced to punt.
An 18-yard pass to Lyle Norman gave Roseau a first down at the Park Rapids 48. But the Panthers' defense held and took over on downs at the 41.
An 11-play, 59-yard drive tied the game. Drury rushed twice for 13 yards and Danny Pike hit Levi Erickson on a 32-yard pass play to the Roseau 15. A 4-yard run by Kevin McMorrow and two carries for 5 yards by Drury led to a fourth-and-1 at the 6. Drury picked up the first down on a 5-yard carry before a motion penalty negated a touchdown run by Pike and pushed the ball back to the 6. Coborn rushed for 2 and 3 yards to set up a 1-yard TD keeper by Pike. Coborn's kick tied the game at 7-7 with 9:55 to play in the first half.
The Rams put together another impressive drive before turning the ball over. Erickson's 21-yard run to the Park Rapids 41 on third-and-5 and 18-yard pass to Bailey on third-and-5 at the 36 were the key plays in that drive. Roseau had a first-and-goal at the 7 and faced fourth-and-goal at the 1 before fumbling into the end zone.
Park Rapids' offense took advantage of that turnover by marching 80 yards in 10 plays to take the lead. A 10-yard run by Drury, two carries for 9 yards by Coborn, a 2-yard gain by Drury on third-and-1, runs of 8 and 15 yards by Coborn and a 30-yard catch by Coborn set up a 1-yard TD plunge by McMorrow. Coborn's kick gave the Panthers a 14-7 lead with 26 seconds to play in the first half.
The Panthers' defense controlled the second half as Roseau managed only 137 yards in offense. Another 1-yard TD run by McMorrow and Coborn's kick concluded the scoring in the third quarter.
Park Rapids had another scoring drive stopped with a fumble at the Roseau 4-yard line in the fourth quarter. That was the Panthers' only mistake of the game.
Erickson led the winless Rams with 136 yards rushing and 112 yards passing. However, Erickson rushed for 94 yards in the first half before being held in check after the intermission.
"Our defense really stepped up in the second half," said Morris. "The guys stayed at home and we were able to contain Erickson."
The Panthers finished with 316 yards in offense, including 254 yards on the ground. Coborn rushed 18 times for 111 yards, Drury gained 74 yards on 17 carries and McMororw had 71 yards on 15 attempts. Pike added 62 yards on two completions.
"The offensive line picked it up and blocked very well and our running backs ran hard," said Morris. "We did the little things well. Everything is starting to come together."
The Panthers will be looking to build off this win and cap off homecoming week with a victory against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Friday night. Kickoff at Vern Weekley Field is set for 7 p.m.
"We're going to have to play another mistake-free game Friday night," said Morris. "The kids are beginning to realize their potential. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going for homecoming."
Park Rapids 0 14 7 0 21
Roseau 7 0 0 0 7
R-Bailey 3 pass from Erickson (kick good)
PR-Pike 1 run (Coborn kick)
PR-McMorrow 1 run (Coborn kick)
PR-McMorrow 1 run (Coborn kick)
First downs 22 15
Rushing 54-254 212
Passing 2-3-0 6-13-0
Yards passing 62 112
Total net yards 316 324
PR OFFENSIVE STATISTICS
RUSHING: Coborn 18-111, Drury 17-74, McMorrow 15-71, Pike 4-(-2).
PASSING: Pike 2-3-0 for 62 yards.
RECEIVING: Erickson 1-32, Coborn 1-30.
KICKOFF RETURNS: Vaadeland 1-32, Coborn 1-14.
PARK RAPIDS DEFENSIVE STATS
SOLO TACKLES: Drury 5, McMorrow 4, Kimball 2, Pike 2, Erickson 2, Odland 2, Coborn 1, Nash 1, Kanten 1.
ASSISTED TACKLES: McMorrow 15, Kimball 12, Pike 11, Ridlon 8, Erickson 8, Nash 7, Ritter 7, Drury 7, Coborn 4, Kanten 1.
QUARTERBACK SACKS: Ridlon 1 1/2, Kimball 1/2.
PUNTS: Pike 1 for 14 yards.
KICKOFFS: Padilla 4 for 201 yards.