Strong second half lifts D-G-F past Panthers in section playoffs

Body: 

Aaron Morris couldn't have asked for a better beginning to Tuesday night's Section 8AAA quarterfinal football playoff game at Glyndon.

The Park Rapids head coach saw his team turn a fumble on the opening kickoff into a touchdown to take a 6-0 lead and battled to stay within 19-12 at the half. But Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton controlled the second half, outscoring the Panthers 26-0 to advance to the section semifinals with a 45-12 victory.

This game was completely different from the regular-season meeting in Week 5 when the Rebels jumped out to a 35-0 halftime lead in coasting to a 49-6 victory. D-G-F used a balanced offensive attack to compile 519 yards in that game with 348 yards rushing and 171 yards passing.

The final numbers for D-G-F were similar as the Rebels finished with 484 yards, including 338 rushing and 146 passing. This time the Rebels had to battle for the win as Steven Taves was the difference by rushing 23 times for 222 yards and two scores as the No. 3 seed prevailed.

Park Rapids, which entered this playoff game as the No. 6 seed with an 0-8 record, received a gift on the opening kickoff by recovering a fumble at the D-G-F 9-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Jason Haas hit Cameron Hoyt on a 9-yard touchdown pass as the Panthers led 6-0 just 46 seconds into the game.

The Rebels responded with an 11-play, 66-yard drive to take the lead for good. Taves started the drive with runs of 10 and 16 yards before adding a 6-yard gain on third-and-1 at the Park Rapids 28. Two more carries by Taves led to a first-and-goal at the 8 before Taves capped off the drive with a 3-yard TD plunge. Aiden Leach kicked the extra point to give the Rebels a 7-6 lead with 6:07 to play in the opening quarter.

On the ensuing series, Zach Severtson ran for a first down on a fake punt and Tristin Persons rushed three times for 23 yards as the Panthers marched into D-G-F territory. An interception ended that threat at the D-G-F 35.

Taves turned that turnover into a touchdown with a 54-yard run on the fifth play from scrimmage to give D-G-F a 13-6 lead with 13 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

D-G-F's defense forced a punt and the Rebels used another big play to pad the lead. An 8-yard run by Taves on third-and-6 was followed with a 41-yard TD pass from Leach to Carter Kohler. That five-play, 60-yard drive pushed the lead to 19-6 with 8:31 remaining in the first half.

After being forced to punt again, the Panthers received another break when Marque Cook recovered a fumble at the D-G-F 34. A pass interference penalty offset a holding penalty before an 11-yard reception by Jake Reish and a 9-yard carry by Persons set up a 15-yard TD run by Haas. That cut the gap to 19-12 with 2:55 to play before the break.

The Rebels used a 30-yard kickoff return by Taves and a 24-yard reception by Kohler to reach the Park Rapids 27, but Leach was sacked on fourth down to end the half.

Park Rapids had to punt to open the second half, but Severtson's kick pinned the Rebels at their own 10. Another big play set up another D-G-F touchdown as Taves broke free for a 51-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage. Taves added five carries for 34 yards, including a 3-yard gain on fourth-and-2 at the 4, to set up a 1-yard TD run by Logan Tucker. Taylor Irwin's kick gave the Rebels a 26-12 advantage with 5:53 remaining in the third quarter. That drive consumed 90 yards in nine plays.

Both teams exchanged punts before the Rebels ended the third quarter with a seven-play, 61-yard scoring drive. Taves had two carries for 18 yards and Anderson caught a 26-yard pass before Trevor Dufault ended the drive with a 6-yard TD run with 13 seconds left. That pushed the lead to 33-12.

The Panthers responded with a 12-play drive as a 9-yard run by Persons on third-and-4, a 14-yard catch by Nathan David and a 2-yard run by Cody Dravis on fourth-and-1 led to a first down at the D-G-F 30. A fumble on fourth-and-10 ended that threat.

Again the Rebels quickly capitalized off a turnover as Leach hit Anderson on a 50-yard scoring route on fourth-and-3 to cap off a six-play, 68-yard drive. With 5:11 to play, D-G-F held a 39-12 advantage.

After stopping the Panthers on downs on the ensuing series, the Rebels marched 48 yards in four plays to conclude the scoring. Cade Sogge's 33-yard run set up a 1-yard TD plunge by Sogge with 1:06 remaining.

Leach completed 5 of 8 passes with Anderson (three catches for 81 yards) and Kohler (two catches for 65 yards) being his only targets. D-G-F ran 60 plays and had 25 first downs. The win gave the Rebels 6-3 record on the season and a date with No. 2 Pequot Lakes in a section semifinal game. In Tuesday night's other Section 8AAA quarterfinal game, No. 4 East Grand Forks edged No. 5 Thief River Falls 22-19. East Grand Forks plays No. 1 Perham in the other semifinal.

Offensively, the Panthers compiled 188 yards on 62 plays with 14 first downs. Haas completed 9 of 24 passes for 73 yards with David making three receptions for 25 yards. Persons rushed 17 times for 65 yards as the Panthers were held to 115 yards on the ground.

Park Rapids 6 6 0 0...12

D-G-F 13 6 14 12...45

SCORING

PR--Hoyt 9 pass from Ja. Haas (pass failed)

DGF--Taves 3 run (Leach kick)

DGF--Taves 54 run (kick failed)

DGF--Kohler 41 pass from Leach (pass failed)

PR--Ja. Haas 15 run (pass failed)

DGF--Tucker 1 run (Irwin kick)

DGF-Dufault 6 run (Irwin kick)

DGF--Anderson 50 pass from Leach (kick failed)

DGF--Sogge 1 run (run failed)

OFFENSIVE STATISTICS

RUSHING. Park Rapids: Persons 17-65, S. Fritze 5-16, Ja. Haas 7-13, Severtson 4-11, Dravis 3-10. DGF: Taves 23-222, Kohler 9-38, Sogge 3-37, Tucker 5-26, Dufault 6-23.

PASSING. Park Rapids: Ja. Haas 9-24-1 for 73 yards; Severtson 0-1-1 for 0 yards; S. Fritze 1-1-0 for 0 yards. DGF: Leach 5-8-0 for 146 yards.

RECEIVING. Park Rapids: David 3-25, Severtson 3-19, Reish 1-11, Hoyt 1-9, Dravis 1-9, Klein 1-0. DGF: Anderson 3-81, Kohler 2-65.

KICKOFF RETURNS. Park Rapids: Klein 4-50, Benson 2-26, Renneberg 1-0. DGF: Taves 1-30, Tucker 1-24.

PUNT RETURNS. Park Rapids: Ja. Haas 1-0. DGF: Kohler 2-10, Tucker 1-6.