Worland scored just minutes into the game and added two more quick tallies for a 3-0 lead. The latter goal came after Panther keeper John Kissner collided with a Worland forward near the top of the 18-yard box while making a play on the ball.
The contact prompted a whistle as both players tumbled to the ground and the ball continued bouncing into the goal.
Despite the official’s whistle, no foul was ever signalled and the goal was allowed to stand. Worland tacked on two more goals before switching into a ball control offense designed to maintain possession for the remainder of the first half.
“We had some things we needed, that we didn’t get,” said Panther head coach Travis Rapp, alluding to the possibility that Worland may have been offsides for a couple of the game’s early goals. “When you get behind, you have to adjust your style of play.”
Playing with the wind at their back in the second half, the Panthers were able to keep Worland off the scoreboard, but struggled to gain possession at times against the Warriors’ continued passing game. Powell out-shot the Warriors for the final 40 minutes, but weren’t able to break into the scoring column until freshman Tyler Ouellete tapped home a pass from Dewey Schwahn seconds into stoppage time for the Panthers’ only goal.
“Overall, I didn’t think we played bad,” said Rapp. “The kids are doing what we ask them to do. We generated opportunities. The main thing is we just need to get back to having fun out there.”
The Panthers will have time to rediscover the fun of the game. Powell is off until April 15, when Jackson — the only member of the top five the Panthers haven’t played and Powell’s fifth ranked opponent in as many games — comes to town. Powell also hosts Pinedale on Saturday, April 16.
“I still think we’re a strong team,” Rapp said. “There’s still a lot of time between now and state. We just need to keep playing hard.”