In the Panthers’ first three games, their defensive prowess stood out. The Powell High School football team entered homecoming week having allowed just 13 points all season.
Against Cody on …
In the Panthers’ first three games, their defensive prowess stood out; the Powell High School football team entered Homecoming week having allowed just 13 points all season.
Against Cody on Friday night, however, it was the Broncs’ defense that never gave an inch.
PHS fell 14-0 in the Homecoming loss. The Panthers totaled just 74 all-purpose yards and recorded just four first downs.
“We just couldn’t get anything going,” head coach Chase Kistler said. “We kept shooting ourselves in the foot.”
After three dominant games on the ground, Powell’s rushing attack stalled on Friday. On 32 carries, the Panthers ran for 60 yards (1.88 yards per carry).
Senior running back Riley Bennett left the game in the first quarter with an apparent leg injury, removing him from the rotation at running back. This, plus several Panthers who dealt with cramps, caused a shuttling of players into positions different from their usual spots.
“We were mixing in running backs that are in positions that aren’t usually theirs,” Kistler said. “It was a rough game for us all around.”
In the air, PHS couldn’t find a rhythm either. Panthers quarterback Landon Lengfelder went 1-of-10 for 14 yards. His lone completion went to Zach Ratcliff.
The Panthers also struggled in another area for the first time on Friday: penalties. From blocks in the back to holding calls, flags continuously haunted Powell, who committed seven for 80 yards.
“The penalties got us out of rhythm,” Kistler said. “I don’t know if it was jitters, but it’s hard to get your feet moving when a team blitzes like they do. When you think about blocking, it’s all about moving your feet.
“The blocks in the back, the holdings, those are things that we can all clean up and fix,” the coach said.
Though the Panthers gave up their highest point total of the season, the defense still performed well in the defeat: It held Cody to 231 total yards.
Both of the Broncs’ scores came through the air. They drove down the field on their first drive and capped it off with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Porter Lee to Luke Talich.
Cody threw 17 passes in the game, the most of any opponent so far this year.
“We knew that that’s how they did it,” Kistler said. “They like to throw on first down and take a shot. It keeps the defense honest, and it was just a well-thrown ball to start the game.”
Powell forced two turnovers, both fumble recoveries, in the loss. Defensive tackle Sheldon Shoopman took one on a botched run play, and defensive back Kobe Ostermiller recovered a muffed punt.
Senior linebacker Adrian Geller had the team’s most tackles with 14, one for a loss. Toran Graham also ended the night with double-digit tackles, logging 11.
Other than the two scoring plays, Kistler said he was impressed with the defense’s overall performance.
“Our defense gave up two plays the whole game,” Kistler said. “You can’t ask much more of the defense. We have to do more as an offense to sustain drives.”
Following the loss, Powell is now 3-1 overall and 0-1 in conference play. The Panthers now have a week to improve and prepare for their next foe: hosting back-to-back defending state champion Star Valley on Friday, Oct. 2.
“We have a long season ahead of us,” Kistler said. “We have to get a couple of wins, which we can definitely do. ... We’ll be just fine, but this is going to be a true test of character this week.”