Miscues cost Powell

Posted 10/13/09

“It's the same thing,” said Powell head coach Jim Stringer. “This is another game that we won on the stat sheet that we lost on the scoreboard because of the mistakes we made. We can't afford to be making that many errors at this …

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Miscues cost Powell


{gallery}10_13_09/football101309{/gallery} Powell sophomore Josh Cragoe looks to turn the corner against Worland on Friday night while teammate Zach Wagner trails on the play. A low-scoring first half gave way to a second-half shootout as the Panthers dropped a 42-31 decision at home. The Panthers host Cody in a Park County rivalry game this Friday. Tribune photo by Randal Horobik Turnover trifecta dooms PanthersThe Powell Panthers were guilty of three third-quarter turnovers on Friday night. The miscues led to three Worland touchdowns and enabled the Warriors to blow open what had been a close game at the half and to roll to a 42-31 win. The loss was Powell's second in as many weeks and the team's second in 3A West conference play.

“It's the same thing,” said Powell head coach Jim Stringer. “This is another game that we won on the stat sheet that we lost on the scoreboard because of the mistakes we made. We can't afford to be making that many errors at this stage of the season.”

Trailing 7-6 at intermission, the Panthers were scheduled to get the football to open the second half of what was shaping up to be a slugfest. When Powell failed to cleanly field the kickoff, the Warriors scooped the ball up and returned it into the end zone for a score.

Things went little better for the Panthers after fielding the second kickoff of the half. Powell put the football on the turf in the backfield, where Worland recovered at the 18. Five plays later, the Warriors were back in the end zone celebrating a score.

The scene repeated itself minutes later. After being pinned inside the 15 by a punt, Powell fumbled on its first snap from scrimmage to once again set Worland up on a very short field and set the stage four plays later for a score that put the visitors on top 28-6 with 3:23 remaining in the third quarter.

The score also forced Powell to rely more heavily on its passing attack, which proved successful. Quarterback Keithen Schwahn hooked up with Kyle Sullivan for a 17-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the fourth quarter to halt a parade of 28 consecutive points from Worland and snap an eight-quarter touchdown drought for Powell's offense.

After a Worland fumble on the kickoff, Schwahn once again fired the ball to the end zone. This time, sophomore Olie Olson was on the receiving end of a 10-yard strike to cut the gap to 28-19 with seven minutes remaining.

The celebration wasn't long-lived. Worland returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown to return the margin to a 16-point gap.

While the score sucked some of the life out of the Panthers' crowd, it didn't diminish the team's fight on the field.

Powell continued to battle, piecing together a nine-play touchdown drive that saw Schwahn race 13 yards into the end zone with 3:33 left in the contest. A failed two-point conversion however kept the game at a two-score margin, 35-25.

The Panthers' final hopes for a late-game rally dissolved when Worland turned a fourth-and-4 rushing play into a 34-yard touchdown run while trying to bleed the clock. Powell added a late score on a Schwahn-to-Devin Jordan touchdown pass with 20 seconds to play.

“There were a lot of good things,” said Stringer. “We did a lot of things well in this game and there's a lot to be proud of that we did out there. Unfortunately, it's overshadowed by the turnovers that we had.”

The second-half shoot-out on the scoreboard was markedly out of character with the game's first half. Powell dominated play in the early going, both offensively and defensively.

The Panthers opened their scoring with a 32-yard Drayson Bratt field goal to end their first possession. Bratt also scored for the Panthers on their second possession, this time proving true from 23 yards out after Powell's drive stalled at the 6-yard line.

Worland, meanwhile, struggled throughout much of the first quarter. The Warriors went three plays and out on each of their first two possessions and appeared to be on the way to doing so again after the team's first three plays of its third possession resulted in a net loss of nine yards.

That's when the Warriors took the mother of all gambles. Backed up on their own 15 and with a punter stationed just a couple steps outside of his own end zone, Worland opted to fake the punt and take a stab at converting the fourth-and-19 play.

The call caught everyone — most notably the Panthers' coverage team —by surprise as it succeeded for a first down. Aided by the shock call, the Warriors went on to turn the possession into a 16-play touchdown drive to take the lead with 7:28 remaining in the first half.

The score also seemed to suck some of the life from the Panthers' defense, which up until that point had held Worland to a negative-9 yards of offense.

“I don't know why that was,” said Stringer. “It isn't like they suddenly changed their offense after that play (the fake punt). The stuff they ran after it and got their yards off of was the same stuff we'd been shutting down before.”

For the night, the Panthers outgained Worland by a 325-210 margin. Schwahn produced the bulk of Powell's yardage, connecting on 14 of his 22 passing attempts for 144 yards and three touchdowns. Schwahn also finished the game as Powell's leading rusher, carrying the ball for 62 yards and a score.

Senior Trent Gillett added 59 yards on a total of 13 carries.

Defensively, Reed Hackworth finished with three solo and 12 assisted tackles. Two of Hackworth's stops came behind the line of scrimmage as he led the Panthers with 24 defensive points. Gillett added 18 points with one solo and 11 assisted tackles.

With two games remaining in the season, the Panthers' record now sits at 4-2 overall, but more importantly is just 1-2 in 3A West play. Unlike previous seasons, seeding for the playoffs will be done using teams' conference records with the top four schools in 3A West being cross-bracketed against the top four schools from the 3A East.