Panthers roll past Warriors in Nordick's debut
Jeremy Nordick wanted to send a message in his first game as head coach of the Park Rapids football team.
Led by an opportunistic offense and stifling defense, the Panthers opened the season with a 46-0 win over United North Central Friday night at Menahga.
The Panthers scored four touchdowns in the first half while limiting UNC to only one first down in building a 28-0 advantage.
Cody Dravis opened the scoring with a 35-yard TD run and conversion to cap a seven-play, 67-yard drive. Park Rapids led 8-0 with 6:37 to play in the first quarter.
After a 6-yard punt by the Warriors gave Park Rapids possession at the UNC 30, Dravis made it 16-0 at the 2:47 mark with an 18-yard TD run and conversion to cap a five-play drive.
An interception by Dravis set up a four-play, 21-yard scoring drive as Jens Anderson's 5-yard TD run made it 22-0 with 8:49 to play in the first half.
Park Rapids ended the half with a six-play, 37-yard scoring drive. Tristin Persons' 7-yard TD run with 36 seconds remaining before the break gave the Panthers a 28-0 advantage.
A fumbled punt by UNC midway through the third quarter set up the Panthers' fifth touchdown. Persons capped off that short three-play, 20-yard drive with a 9-yard TD run and conversion for a 36-0 lead at the 4:28 mark.
After stopping the Warriors on downs at the UNC 37, the Panthers needed five plays to pad their lead with Zach Fritze scoring from 2 yards out and Spencer Fritze running in the conversion for a 44-0 lead with 11:52 to play.
The fourth quarter was played with running time as Park Rapids' defense concluded the scoring when Kolby Brandt tackled UNC quarterback Charlie Hodge in the end zone with 1:36 remaining.
Park Rapids will make its home debut this Friday night by hosting Thief River Falls. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Vern Weekley Field.
Park Rapids 16 12 8 10...46
United North Central 0 0 0 0...0
PR-Dravis 35 run (Dravis run)
PR-Dravis 18 run (Dravis run)
PR-Anderson 5 run (pass failed)
PR-Persons 7 run (run failed)
PR-Persons 9 run (Persons run)
PR-Z. Fritze 2 run (S. Fritze run)
PR-Safety: K. Brandt tackled Hodge in end zone