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Ben Baumgartner lunged into the end zone to give Park Rapids a 6-0 lead in the first quarter of Friday night's game against Roseau.

Defense lifts Panthers past Roseau

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     Capitalizing on a myriad of Roseau mistakes led the Park Rapids football team to a successful home opener Friday night at Vern Weekley Field.

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     Roseau couldn’t overcome three interceptions, two lost fumbles and nine penalties as the Panthers jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead en route to a 21-6 Heart O’Lakes Conference victory.

     On the first series of the game, the Panthers were able to overcome a 6-yard loss on a fumble on the first play from scrimmage when Roseau was called for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. That started an eight-play, 64-yard scoring drive. Tyler McCollum hit Noah MacPherson for a 16-yard gain and Josh Severtson rushed for 11 and 12 yards to the Roseau 5 that set up a 2-yard TD plunge by Ben Baumgartner. That gave the Panthers a 6-0 lead with 9:49 to play in the first quarter.

     On Roseau’s first series, Jon Burlingame intercepted a tipped pass at the Park Rapids 29. The Panthers returned the favor when AJ Hogenson intercepted a pass at the Roseau 18. Baumgartner’s 8-yard run and 6-yard reception led the Panthers to the Roseau 47 before the turnover.

     The Rams put together a drive as Alex Halstensgard rushed three times for 31 yards to reach the Park Rapids 33. Park Rapids’ defense held and the Panthers took over at their own 27.

     McCollum hit Severtson for a 29-yard gain and found MacPherson on a 14-yard route as the Panthers reached midfield. A holding penalty ended that drive and forced a punt.

     Roseau quarterback Jacob Eaton followed a 25-yard run with a 10-yard run as the Rams marched to the Park Rapids 33. The Panthers forced a punt when a fumble, a sack and a delay-of-game penalty pushed Roseau back to midfield.

     Severtson’s 16-yard punt return gave the Panthers possession at their own 41. A quick five-play, 59-yard scoring drive followed. McCollum hit Derek Porozinski for a 28-yard gain, Remington Hagan rushed for 11 yards and a helmet-to-helmet penalty gave the Panthers a first down at the Roseau 11. Two plays later, McCollum found Drew Bade for a 13-yard TD and Severtson ran in the conversion as the Panthers led 14-0 with 7:45 to play in the first half.

     Roseau used two runs by Halstensgard for 13 yards and a 6-yard run by Eaton to reach Park Rapids territory, but Kurt Fritze recovered a fumble to end that threat.

     The Panthers were forced to punt on their next possession and Roseau started the next drive at the 18. Three plays later, the Rams set up to punt, but Joe Vatsndal attempted a pass that was intercepted by Matt Bade at the 33 and returned to the 24.

     On the next play, McCollum hit MacPherson on a 24-yard route, but that touchdown was called back because of a holding penalty. Drew Bade’s 24-yard run on a reverse on third-and-20 set up a 12-yard TD pass from McCollum to Severtson. Jamie Stewart’s kick gave the Panthers a 21-0 cushion with 20 seconds to play before intermission.

     The Panthers surprised Roseau on the opening kickoff of the second half when Burlingame recovered an onside kick at the Roseau 44.

     A pass interference call gave the Panthers a first down at the 29, but a fumble ended that threat.

     After forcing the Rams to punt, Severtson’s 14-yard run led the Panthers to the Roseau 48. A fumble on the next play gave the ball back to Roseau.

     Halstensgard’s 11-yard carry gave Roseau possession near midfield, but Drew Bade’s interception at the Park Rapids 23 ended that drive.

     McCollum hit Baumgartner on a 20-yard route as the Panthers reached the Park Rapids 43, but that drive stalled and the Panthers were forced to punt.

     Roseau couldn’t handle the punt, which Baumgartner recovered at the Rams’ 34. After McCollum hit MacPherson on a 30-yard route to the 5, McCollum was sacked at the 18 and Roseau took over.

     A 10-play, 82-yard scoring drive followed as Halstensgard’s 19-yad run was followed by Eaton’s five carries for 42 yards. Halstensgard capped the drive with a 13-yard TD run. That drive, which took 4:34 off the clock, pulled the Rams to within 21-6 with 8:34 to play.

     Johnson and Baumgartner started the Panthers’ next drive with 8-yard runs and Johnson followed with a 17-yard carry as Park Rapids marched to the Roseau 23. Two fumbled pitches ended that drive at the 43.

     Park Rapids’ defense held and the Panthers took over at their own 44 with 3:24 to play. An 18-yard reverse by Porozinski on third-and-14 and another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty helped the Panthers run out the clock.

     “It wasn’t the prettiest win, but a win is a win,” said Park Rapids head coach Aaron Morris. “We knew we could beat Roseau. We played pretty well in the first half, but we didn’t execute in the second half. We didn’t capitalize on some of their mistakes, but we’ll take the win.”

     Roseau compiled 276 yards in offense with Halstensgard rushing 19 times for 142 yards and Eaton rushing 16 times for 103 yards. The Rams, who had 80 yards in penalties, fell to 0-2 on the season.

     The Panthers finished with 284 yards in offense with McCollum completing 10 of 17 passes for 171 yards with MacPherson catching three passes for 60 yards. Baumgartner and Severtson both rushed for 38 yards as the Panthers added 113 yards on the ground.

     “Our goal was to run the ball more. At times we looked fabulous but at other times we looked like we didn’t know what we were doing,” said Morris, whose team improved to 1-1 on the season. “We didn’t play as well as we did against Hawley, but the kids got a taste of what it takes to get a win. We’ve got some work to do. We have to work to put a whole game together. I know we’re going to get better. When we put everything together, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”

     The Panthers travel to Crookston for another conference game Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Roseau               0      0    0      6…6

Park Rapids        6     15   0      0..21

SCORING

PR-Baumgartner 2 run (kick failed)

PR-D. Bade 11 pass from T. McCollum (Severtson run)

PR-Severtson 12 pass from T. McCollum (Stewart kick)

R-Halstensgard 13 run (pass failed)

TEAM STATISTICS

                                ROS         PR

First downs               15            19

Rushes-yards             42-266     32-113

Passing                     2-9-3        10-17-1

Passing yards            10            171

Total yards                276          284

Penalties-yards          9-80         5-35

Fumbles-lost              5-2           5-3

OFFENSIVE STATISTICS

RUSHING. Roseau: Halstensgard 19-142, Eaton 16-103. Park Rapids: Baumgartner 13-38, Severtson 8-38, Johnson 2-25, D. Bade 1-24, Porozinski 1-18, Hagan 6-17, Burlingame 1-2.

PASSING. Roseau: Eaton 2-8-2 for 10 yards; Vatnsdal 0-1-1 for 0 yards. Park Rapids: T. McCollum 10-17-1 for 171 yards.

RECEIVING. Roseau: Vatnsdal 1-5, Valenzuela 1-5. Park Rapids: MacPherson 3-60, Baumgartner 3-29, Severtson 2-41, Porozinski 1-28, D. Bade 1-13.

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