Panthers open season with 35-21 win over Aurora - Mountain Grove News-Journal : Sports

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Panthers open season with 35-21 win over Aurora

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Posted: Wednesday, August 24, 2016 10:50 am

The teams traded scores through the first half of the contest.

Mountain Grove took the second half kickoff and drove for a touchdown to take the lead and never gave it up through the remainder of the game to claim the 35-21 victory.

Aurora took the game opening kickoff and drove 84 yards and scored on a five yard rushing touchdown. They added the extra point to go up 7-0.

Aurora picked up a total of 164 yards of offense in the game with 102 yards coming through the air on 21 attempts.

The Panthers responded to the Aurora score with a 56 yard drive of their own after Will Gourley had returned the ball to the Mountain Grove 44 on the kickoff. The Panthers kept the first eight plays on the ground and drove to the Aurora 28 where they faced a fourth and five. Carter Otwell found Gavin Veach for a 20 yard pass play which gave the Panthers a first and goal on the eight. Trystan Short carried in for the Panthers first score of the year and Trenton Thompson added the extra point to tie up the game.

On their next possession Aurora put together a 12 play drive to score and a four yard pass play. Aurora was assisted in the drive by a Panther personal foul which moved the ball to the Mountain Grove 19. The Panthers picked up 70 yards of penalties in the game.

Aurora added the extra point to go up 14-7 with 6:59 left in the half.

Another strong Panther kickoff return gave Mountain Grove the ball on the Panther 48. Twelve rushing plays later, Carter Otwell scored from three yards out and Thompson added the extra point to tie the game with 42.5 seconds remaining in the half.

The Panthers recovered an onside kick at the Panther 46, but they were not able to convert on the turnover.

Mountain Grove captured the lead on the first possession of the second half when Short scored on an eight yard run. The Panther’s extra point attempt failed, but the Panther defense responded by forcing an Aurora punt which Mountain Grove took at their own 25. On this possession, Short scored from on yard out and Otwell ran in the two-point conversion.

Aurora would come back and complete a scoring drive with a 14 yard touchdown pass and added the extra point to pull within seven, 28-21.

The final score of the game came on the next Panther drive when they stayed on the ground for 12 plays with Otwell carrying in from 20 yards out with 2:39 remaining in the game. Thompson again added the extra point.

The Panthers recorded 45 yards passing in the game and 288 rushing yards.

Otwell was three for three passing for 45 yards with Veach pulling in one catch for 20 yards and Andy Amos had two catches for 25 yards.

Otwell led the Panther rushers with 160 yards on 22 carries. Short had 92 yards on 21 carries with Gourley picking up 25 yards on three carries and Colton Moore had 11 yards on five carries.

Otwell also led the Panther defense with 10 tackles including seven solo tackles. Moore had a total of 7 tackles and five solo tackles. Thompson also had seven tackles including four solo. Veach and Dustin Jarboe each had five tackles including three solo tackles.

“I was proud of the way our team competed. We had a lot of things going against us, but they continued to play hard. Offensively we did some nice things, but there is so much room for improvement. That is what is good about the first game. You are able to really identify some things we need to work on. Our guys played hard up front. We just missed too many assignments. All of these things are easy to fix though. I thought we played well at times on the defensive side of the ball. We just couldn’t get off the field. That will be a big focus for us this week-limit the penalties and get off the field on third down,” Rich Adkins, Panther head football coach stated.

The Panthers will play another non-conference game on Friday when they host Strafford at 7 p.m. Mountain Grove’s first South Central Association game will be September 2 at Ava.