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December 31, 2013 9:41 am

2013 a look back: Football’s finest

Written by Tribune Staff

Powell High School football coaches Mike Heny (left) and Waleryan Wisniewski react to a defensive stop during the Panthers’ 19-13 Class 3A state title game victory. Powell High School football coaches Mike Heny (left) and Waleryan Wisniewski react to a defensive stop during the Panthers’ 19-13 Class 3A state title game victory. Tribune photo by Ben Wetzel

What else could it be in this football-first town?

The Powell boys won their third consecutive Class 3A title  Nov. 15 in dramatic fashion — a shock to Panther fans who had watched a largely drama-free season, and a coach who barely survived the night.

“I’d like to maybe win one without having a heart attack,” said head coach Jim Stringer.

Senior quarterback Hayden Cragoe plunged across the goal line in overtime to cinch a 19-13 win for the Panthers, who had stopped the Douglas Bearcats on three tries from the 1-yard line during the East champs’ possession.

“That just came down to heart,” said senior defensive lineman Tony Lujan of the defensive stand.

Both teams struggled to score and each posted their lowest point-total of the season, but Powell was able to move the ball when it mattered most.

“When it counted they moved the ball 10 yards on three run plays and helped win us the game,” Stringer said of the overtime score.

Powell’s regulation touchdowns were scored on receptions by junior Kalei Smith and senior Brendon Phister.

Senior defensive end Zach Thompson had three sacks, junior defensive tackle Riley Stringer blocked an extra point and Cragoe, junior Carter Baxter and senior Ryan Ferro each had an interception.

In Powell, hundreds of fans packed the movie theater and thousands more followed the action on TV and the radio. The roar when the Panthers claimed another was heard across the city.

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