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D-G-F compiles 519 yards in 49-6 win over Panthers

Jason Haas stretched across the goal line to score Park Rapids' only touchdown in a 49-6 loss to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Friday night in the annual homecoming game at Vern Weekley Field. Vance Carlson / Enterprise

Two early fumbles provided a bad omen for the Park Rapids football team Friday night.

Even though Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton didn't immediately turn those turnovers into points, it set the tone for the night as the Rebels went on to compile 519 yards in offense while forcing four turnovers in a 49-6 Section 8AAA and Midwest Red District victory in Park Rapids' homecoming game at Vern Weekley Field.

"We came out flat from the start and made too many mental mistakes," said Park Rapids head coach Aaron Morris. "The players had a good two days of practice and really did not let homecoming distract them. We need to figure out how to carry practice to games because it is two different teams. These guys worked hard and had great practices, but it seems when the lights come on they get nervous or just forget what we practiced all week."

On the second play from scrimmage, a Park Rapids fumble was recovered by the Rebels at the 30. D-G-F couldn't capitalize on that turnover as Marque Cook recovered a fumble four plays later to give the Panthers possession at the 23.

The Panthers were forced to punt and D-G-F opened the scoring with a six-play, 64-yard drive. An 11-yard run by Carter Kohler and 18-yard reception by Bryce Anderson set up a 20-yard pass from Aiden Leach to Taylor Irwin on fourth-and-5. Irwin's kick gave the Rebels a 7-0 lead with 5:25 to play in the first quarter.

Park Rapids fumbled on the next play from scrimmage, which the Rebels recovered at the 20. The Panthers' defense held, stopping Trevor Dufault for no gain on fourth-and-1 to end that threat at the 11.

D-G-F's defense forced another punt and took over at the Park Rapids 27. Steven Taves' 8-yard run and a penalty for a late hit set up a 7-yard TD run by Dylan Taves to cap off that quick three-play drive. Irwin's kick made it 14-0 with 56 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.

Another 3-and-out resulted in another punt as D-G-F's offense took over at its own 38. Steven Taves rushed twice for 14 yards and Jacob Strand caught an 18-yard pass before Dylan Taves broke free for a 30-yard TD run. Steven Taves ran in the conversion and the Rebels led 22-0 with 10:25 to play in the first half. That scoring drive took only four plays.

The Panthers responded with a 13-play, 67-yard scoring drive to get back in the game. Quarterback Jens Anderson hit Jason Haas for a 16-yard gain and Tristin Persons rushed for 13 yards. A penalty for a late hit on that run on fourth-and-1 led to a first-and-goal at the 9. Three plays later, Anderson and Haas connected on a 5-yard scoring route as Park Rapids trailed 22-6 at the 5:50 mark.

D-G-F quickly regained the momentum as Steven Taves followed a 22-yard kickoff return to the 38 with a 62-yard TD run. That gave the Rebels a 28-6 lead with 5:31 left in the first half.

"That play took the wind out of the sail once again," said Morris. "We need to figure out a way to stop these and keep the momentum on our side. The players worked hard to get the ball in the end zone. Now we need to shore up our defense and play tough."

The Panthers were forced to punt for the fourth time and D-G-F responded with a six-play, 65-yard scoring drive. Dylan Taves caught a 19-yard pass and Steven Taves rushed for 12 yards to set up a 26-yard TD pass from Leach to Anderson. Irwin's kick gave D-G-F a 35-6 lead with 2:21 left before halftime.

Park Rapids' offense had to punt after three plays and the Rebels threatened to score again before the break as Leach hit Andrew Oberg on a 16-yard route, found Irwin for a 25-yard gain and hit Oberg again on a 21-yard pass to reach the Park Rapids 3. That 75-yard drive stalled at the 1 as time expired.

On the first series of the second half, D-G-F marched 62 yards in four plays to pad the lead. Steven Taves' 34-yard run and Dufault's 9-yard run set up a 12-yard TD run by Steven Taves. Irwin's kick extended the lead to 42-6 with 10:20 to play in the third quarter.

D-G-F's defense took over by forcing a punt after Zach Severtson rushed 7 yards on a fake punt on fourth-and-2 for a first down and intercepting two passes on the Panthers' next three possessions. Jackson Friend leaped up and tipped an Anderson pass at the D-G-F 25, catching the ball while lying on his back to end Park Rapids second drive. Friend also stopped the Panthers' next drive. Persons broke free for a 23-yard gain and followed with two more runs for 11 yards as Park Rapids reached the D-G-F 28, but Friend intercepted a pass at the 7 and returned it to midfield.

The Rebels concluded the scoring with a five-play drive as Joey Kohler's 8-yard run on third-and-8 was followed with a 33-yard TD run by Brady Winter. Irwin's kick made it 49-6 with 9:17 to play.

Zach Fritze's 14-yard run provided a first down, but the Panthers were forced to punt for the seventh time as D-G-F sealed the win.

"Turnovers and penalties hurt us throughout the game. We knew D-G-F was big, but when you give them a short field, it is hard on our defense," said Morris. "Our defense has been on the field way too much and we need to figure out a way to get things going on offense. I know that we have a new offensive scheme and a sophomore quarterback, but as coaches we need to figure out a way to sustain a drive."

The Panthers were held to 151 yards in offense with Persons rushing 12 times for 64 yards and Anderson completing 9 of 21 passes for 44 yards. Haas caught five of those passes for 39 yards. Park Rapids had 11 first downs in the game.

Steven Taves rushed 16 times for 163 yards as the Rebels rushed for 348 yards. D-G-F added 171 yards through the air as Leach completed 9 of 13 passes to six different receivers. The Rebels had 26 first downs.

"We did not come up from the linebacker and secondary spots to make plays. Our front guys did not do terrible, but they just had too many people blocking them. They needed to get separation and make plays," said Morris. "Most of the open (receivers) they had is because we did not trust each other in the secondary and were trying to do too much. These guys need to learn that they have a responsibility and to trust each other to do their job. We need to work on our tackling, correct angles and being aggressive. We play too tentative out there instead of just playing and letting things happen."

D-G-F improved to 3-1 in district play and 3-2 overall while the Panthers fell to 0-4 in the district and 0-5 overall.

In Friday night's other district games, Fergus Falls defeated Perham 35-20, Pequot Lakes defeated Detroit Lakes 28-12 and East Grand Forks edged Thief River Falls 13-6. Fergus Falls tops the district standings at 4-0 while Perham joins D-G-F at 3-1. Pequot Lakes and East Grand Forks are 2-2 while Detroit Lakes and Thief River Falls fell to 1-3.

Perham tops the section standings at 4-1 with Pequot Lakes joining D-G-F at 3-2. East Grand Forks is 2-3 and Thief River Falls is 1-4.

Park Rapids travels to Pequot Lakes this Friday night for another district and section game. Kickoff for the Patriots' homecoming game is set for 6 p.m.

"We need to be ready for a very athletic, strong Pequot Lakes team. It is their homecoming, so they are going to come out of the gates," said Morris. "We are way better than this and we need to carry over practice to games and have fun. We can compete with anyone. We just need to put a full game together with no mistakes."

D-G-F 14 21 7 7...49

Park Rapids 0 6 0 0...6

SCORING

DGF--Irwin 20 pass from Leach (Irwin kick)

DGF--D. Taves 7 run (Irwin kick)

DGF--D. Taves 30 run (S. Taves run)

PR--Haas 5 pass from Anderson (pass failed)

DGF--S. Taves 62 run (run failed)

DGF--Anderson 26 pass from Leach (Irwin kick)

DGF--S. Taves 12 run (Irwin kick)

DGF--Winter 33 run (Irwin kick)

OFFENSIVE STATISTICS

RUSHING. DGF: S. Taves 16-163, D. Taves 4-40, Winter 2-36, Sogge 4-28, Dufault 7-27, Tucker 6-19, C. Kohler 2-15, Fuchs 3-13, J. Kohler 1-8, Leach 4-(-1). Park Rapids: Persons 12-64, Z. Fritze 2-16, Anderson 10-13, Severtson 2-11, Haas 1-2, Bessman 2-1.

PASSING. DGF: Leach 9-13-0 for 171 yards. Park Rapids: Anderson 9-21-2 for 44 yards.

RECEIVING. DGF: Irwin 2-45, Anderson 2-44, Oberg 2-37, D. Taves 1-19, Strand 1-18, S. Taves 1-8. Park Rapids: Haas 5-39, Hoyt 3-3, Severtson 1-2.

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