Missed football opportunities

Posted 10/12/10

In the fourth quarter alone, the Panthers were guilty of a costly roughing the kicker penalty that came after Powell's defense had stuffed Worland for a fourth-and-17. The miscue provided the warriors with a second chance near midfield and the team …

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Missed football opportunities


{gallery}10_12_10/phsfootball{/gallery}Powell's Cooper Wise (3) and another member of the Panthers' defensive unit team up to pull down a Worland ball carrier during Friday night's conference clash against the Warriors. Tribune photo by Ben Wetzel Panthers let one slip against Worland Previously winless Worland stunned the fourth-ranked Powell Panthers 21-18 on a wet Friday night. Looking to wrap up a spot in the 3A playoffs, PHS was instead left searching for answers to the question of how the contest slipped through their grasp. Truth be told, there were no shortage of reasons.

In the fourth quarter alone, the Panthers were guilty of a costly roughing the kicker penalty that came after Powell's defense had stuffed Worland for a fourth-and-17. The miscue provided the warriors with a second chance near midfield and the team eventually marched in for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown —but not before twice having to convert on fourth-and-7 situations.

Later in the period, as the Panthers were driving to re-take the lead, Powell saw a completion inside the Worland 10 wiped off the board due to an offensive pass interference penalty. Two plays later, Josh Cragoe's apparent 40-yard touchdown reception was erased from the books by a holding infraction.

Throw in three first-half Powell turnovers and three missed point-after conversion opportunities and the Panthers' coaching staff was left with a smorgasbord of little things to focus on after the contest.

“There just never was a consistent level of play tonight,” said Panther head coach Jim Stringer. “We never sustained what I would consider a high level of play. We'd go hard for a few plays and then tail off. Then we'd come up again and tail back off.”

The Panthers certainly started the game on a high note. After stuffing Worland's first possession for a three-and-out, Powell needed just three offensive plays to move from its own 46 into the end zone.

Cooper Wise took the first offensive play 29 yards around the left side. Two plays later, Olie Olson brought the ball back to the right for a 24-yard scoring run. Following a blocked point-after attempt, the Panthers held a 6-0 lead.

“That was it right there,” Stringer said. “They thought they'd won the game. They really thought an 0-5 team was going to roll over for them on their home field.”

The Panthers' next three possessions all resulted in turnovers. Worland converted the first two of those miscues into short touchdown drives to take a 14-6 lead with 8:38 remaining in the first half.

Meanwhile, the Panthers weren't able to capitalize on the Warriors' errors. A roughing the kicker penalty allowed Powell's offense to stay on the field near midfield, but the Panthers moved the ball just 5 additional yards on three plays and were forced to send the punting unit onto the field again.

Late in the half, Worland lost its only fumble of the game, but came away unscathed as the Panthers were unable to get out of bounds to stop the clock. The first half came to a close with Powell 10 yards shy of the Worland end zone.

After coming up shy to end the first half, the Panthers had no difficulties punching the ball in for a score to begin the second half. Powell required just seven plays to move 64 yards for a score. Cragoe's 18-yard halfback pass to Wise was one of three completions on the drive, which Wise eventually capped with a 15-yard sweep around the left end for the score.

Special teams came up big for the Panthers later in the third quarter as the team blocked a punt and recovered the football at the Worland 28.

Powell reached the end zone on the first play of the fourth period as quarterback Keithen Schwahn hit Tyler England with a fourth-and-goal completion from the 3 to give the Panthers their first lead since the early first quarter.

That's when the fourth-quarter trouble started.

Worland burned more than six minutes off the clock marching 50 yards for the winning touchdown on a drive that started with the Panthers recording a 6-yard sack. Three times Powell found itself one play from sending the offense back onto the field, but a penalty and two fourth-down pass completions enabled the Warriors to reach paydirt.

Adding insult to injurty were the final stats, which were slanted heavily in Powell's favor. The Panthers gained 318 yards on 51 plays, including 200 yards on the ground. Worland finished with 176 yards of offense from 53 plays.

Schwahn led the way with 60 yards on 10 carries for Powell's ground game. Wise added 53 yards on five carries while Olson was the only other Panther rusher to gain more than 25 yards in the contest.

Schwahn also connected for 10 of his 21 pass attempts for 118 yards. Much of the Panthers' air success came after intermission, when the team was 8-for-12 through the air.

The loss will likely cost the Panthers their spot in the rankings when the polls are updated later this week. The team drops to 4-2 on the year and 2-1 in 3A West confeence play.