Long TD runs cost Panthers in 14-13 loss

Two missed opportunities in the first half and a missed extra point in the fourth quarter proved costly as the Park Rapids football team missed a chance to remain in first place in the Section 8AAA standings.

Two missed opportunities in the first half and a missed extra point in the fourth quarter proved costly as the Park Rapids football team missed a chance to remain in first place in the Section 8AAA standings.

Thief River Falls overcame two fumbled punts deep in its own territory and two turnovers in the Park Rapids' red zone in the first half to escape with a 14-13 victory Friday night. The win lifted the Prowlers into second place in the section standings with 31 points while Park Rapids fell to a share of third place with 28 points as both teams are now 2-1 on the season. Warroad tops the section standings with a 3-0 record and 32 points.

After a scoreless first half, Thief River Falls struck quickly to start the second half to open the scoring. The Prowlers were pinned at their own 9-yard line before Myles Keefe gained 6 yards to surpass 100 yards for the game. Tyler Aandal followed a 17-yard run with a 68-yard TD run to cap a three-play, 91-yard drive. With 1:10 gone in the third quarter, Thief River Falls held a 6-0 lead.

The Panthers countered that scoring drive with a quick scoring drive of their own. Dylan Walsh's kickoff return to the TRF 37 and a 17-yard run by Justin Peterson set up a 16-yard TD pass from Walsh to Kevin Vaadeland. Tucker Coborn's kick gave Park Rapids a 7-6 lead with 8:49 to play in the third quarter.

Neither team mounted a threat until Walsh hit Vaadeland on a 32-yard route to the TRF 40. Three plays later, the Prowlers intercepted a pass at the 11 as that drive ended.


The Prowlers quickly took advantage of that turnover as Aandal surpassed the 200-yard rushing mark by breaking free for an 89-yard TD scamper. Quarterback Cody Connors ran in the conversion and TRF held a 14-7 lead with 1:36 to play in the third quarter.

Again Park Rapids responded to that score by putting together a nine-play, 57-yard scoring drive. Coborn's kickoff return to the 43, an 18-yard run by Walsh and a 13-yard run by Peterson set up a 4-yard quarterback keeper by Walsh. The kick missed, but the Panthers had closed the deficit to 14-13 with 9:33 to play.

Both teams had to punt after three plays before the Prowlers marched to the Park Rapids 30. That drive was stopped when Coborn stripped the ball from Connors and the Panthers took over at their own 30 with 1:59 to play.

On the third play, Aandal intercepted a pass and TRF was able to run out the final 1:34 to preserve the win.

"We had some breakdowns, but we also had some good points," said Park Rapids head coach Tom Ahrendt. "We made some mistakes and didn't take advantage of some scoring chances, but the kids know that we can play with anybody."

Both teams missed scoring chances during a scoreless first half.

Thief River Falls used a 36-yard run by Connors to reach the Park Rapids 20 before Kevin McMorrow intercepted a Connors pass in the end zone to end that drive.

Vaadeland and Peterson rushed three times for 35 yards as the Panthers marched to the TRF 37. An illegal procedure penalty ended that drive and Park Rapids punted.


Aandal called for a fair catch, but couldn't make the catch. The Panthers recovered at the TRF 11. Park Rapids failed to capitalize on that turnover as the Prowlers' defense held and TRF took over at the 11.

A 38-yard run by Keefe and a facemask penalty helped TRF reach the Park Rapids 19. The Panthers' defense stopped that drive and took over at the 20. TRF held and forced a punt and once again Aandal fumbled a fair catch.

Park Rapids recovered at the TRF 34, but two sacks forced the Panthers to punt.

Despite a 29-yard run by Keefe, the Prowlers were forced to punt. McMorrow broke free for a 26-yard run as the Panthers reached the TRF 40, but a holding penalty forced Park Rapids to punt. Another punt by TRF and an intentional grounding call on the Panthers ended the half.

Park Rapids couldn't stop TRF's running game as the Prowlers rushed for 428 yards in the game to offset five turnovers.

The Panthers countered with 241 yards in offense as McMorrow finished with 90 yards on 18 carries and Peterson added 54 yards on 10 carries. Vaadeland caught two passes for 48 yards.

"We're getting better each week," said Ahrendt. "When we play them again, it will be a different outcome."

The Panthers will host Roseau for homecoming this Friday night at Vern Weekley Field. Both teams are 2-1 and tied for third in the section standings with 28 points. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.


Park Rapids 0 0 7 6 13

TRF 0 0 14 0 14


TRF-Aandal 68 run (kick failed)

PR-Vaadeland 16 pass from Walsh (Coborn kick)

TRF-Aandal 89 run (Connors run)

PR-Walsh 4 run (kick failed)




First downs 9 10

Rushing 42-190 46-428

Passing 3-15-2 0-6-1

Yards passing 51 0

Total net yards 241 428

Fumbles-lost 0-0 4-4

Penalties-yards 4-25 3-15



RUSHING. Park Rapids: McMorrow 18-90, Peterson 10-54, Vaadeland 9-33, Walsh 5-13.

PASSING. Park Rapids: Walsh 3-9-0 for 51 yards; Vaadeland 0-6-2 for 0 yards.

RECEIVING. Park Rapids: Vaadeland 2-48, McMorrow 1-3.

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