Our Northwest Game of the Week featured the #1 ranked Le-Win Panthers playing host to the #5 ranked Forreston Cardinals Friday night. There was a lot of early debate on how this one would play out, but from the onset it was clear that the Panthers were in full gear in this one as they walked away with a 36-16 win.
Lena-Winslow (2-0) brought the pressure early and often, as they forced Forreston into a quick 3 and out series to open the game before they went to work. As quick as Le-Win forced the Cardinals to punt, the Panthers were in the end zone a little while later as Sean Ormiston burst in from a yard out for the first score of the game. Isaiah Bruce added the 2 point conversion as the Panthers took an early 8-0 lead with 8:26 left in the 1st quarter.
Things would tumble quickly for Forreston, as on the next drive the Le-Win defense rose to the occasion again, this time forcing a fumble that Isaiah Bruce would recover at the Forreston 11 yard line. Just over a minute later, Ormiston was punching the ball in for his 2nd TD of the game. After the Parker Magee kick was good, the Panthers held a 15-0 lead with 6:59 left to play in the 1st quarter.
Forreston would get a good kick return setting them up at the Le-Win 44 yard line, but just 9 yards later the Panther defense would shut Forreston down on a 4th down try. Chewing up some clock behind runs from Ormiston, Bruce, and Keegan Gyland, the Panthers found themselves knocking on the door again. A penalty would negate some yardage, and move the Panthers back to the Forreston 20 yard line. That is when QB Cade Benson would roll out to his right and find Bruce in the end zone with just 2 seconds left on the clock for a 20 yard TD. A Magee PAT would put the Panthers up 22-0 at the end of the 1st quarter.
Forreston would try to go to work again behind their run game, but only chewing 3 minutes off the clock, the Cards were deep in Panther territory when the defense rose up and stopped a 4th down conversion again. This time the Panther offense would take over from their own 13 yard line, and once again behind a heavy dose of Ormiston runs, the Panthers marched their way down the field in 5 minutes, punctuated by Ormiston's 3rd touchdown run of the night. Another Magee PAT gave the Panthers a 29-0 lead with 4:47 left in the half.
The Cards were not done yet, as they began moving the ball on a few pass connections from Bailey Cullor to Caileen Davids and Hunter Rogers. With just over 2 minutes left in the half, Cullor found Davids for quick connection, and Davids fought off 2 defenders before finding himself in a foot race he would win to the end zone on a 40 yard pass play. The 2 point try was good, as Le-Win took a 29-8 lead into the half.
To open the 3rd quarter, Forreston would begin to make a game out of it, taking advantage of Le-Win mistakes, and forcing the Panthers to punt for the first time all game. The Cards would go to work behind their run game, that was very stagnant in the first half, but were able to find room to run to open the 2nd half behind the legs Ethan Mulder and Evan Kelsey. Marching their way to the Panther 3 yard line, Garett Badertscher was able to punch the rock in from 3 yards out, and after a 2 point try was successful, Forreston pulled within 2 scores of the Panthers 29-16 with 5 minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
But that would be all about she wrote on this night, as the Panthers added some insurance in the 4th quarter on an Isaiah Bruce 62 yard touchdown run, and following a Magee PAT kick, would put the finishing touches on the game.
On the night, the Panthers were led by Sean Ormiston who finished with 32 carries for 185 yards and 3 TD's. Isaiah Bruce pitched in with 7 carries for 110 yards with 1 TD, and added 1 reception for 20 yards and another score, while getting a fumble recovery that he forced to set up the 2nd score of the night. Cade Benson went 2-5 passing for 33 yards and 1 TD.
The Cards were led Ethan Mulder, who finished the night with 11 carries for 68 yards, and Evan Kelsey who added 12 carries for 52 yards on the night. Bailey Cullor went 5-12 passing for 108 yards and 1 TD.
Le-Win (2-0) @ East Dubuque (1-1)
Forreston (1-1) @ Dakota (2-0)