Panthers show fight in loss against Awesome Blossoms

Published 5:25 am Thursday, October 16, 2014

Coming into its matchup with the NRHEG football team, Blooming Prairie was undefeated and hadn’t won by fewer than 19 points.

The Panthers gave the No. 6 (Class A) Awesome Blossoms their closest game of the season on Wednesday but fell 35-20 at home.

“What a battle,” said Panthers coach Dan Stork. “Our kids played hard, and I’m very proud of their effort.”

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Blooming Prairie scored the first points of the game, but NRHEG came back with 7:46 left in the first quarter on a three-yard touchdown run by Trevor Tracy. The Panthers took their first lead when Tracy found Spencer Tollefson in the end zone on the two-point conversion.

The Awesome Blossoms recaptured the lead less than two minutes later, but a one-yard touchdown run by Trey Hoppe gave NRHEG a 14-13 advantage, which stood until halftime.

After Blooming Prairie scored twice in the third quarter, the Panthers made it a one-possession game, 28-20, on Hoppe’s second scoring run with 2:01 left in the game. The Awesome Blossoms tacked on a touchdown with 11 seconds left in the game to pad the lead.

Hoppe led NRHEG’s rushing attack with 152 yards on 30 carries. Tracy added 28 yards on the ground. Through the air, Tracy was 3-of-5 for 27 yards with two interceptions.

“Our offensive and defensive lines played very well, and Trey Hoppe ran very hard behind some great lead blocking by Nick Bartness and Matt Jensen,” Stork said.

Defensively, NRHEG was led by Tollefson, who had five tackles. Zeke Erickson had two tackles and a sack.

After winning their season opener, the Panthers (3-5 overall) won two of their last three games. Blooming Prairie (8-0 overall) completed an undefeated regular season.

Statistics are in the Scoreboard: Oct. 15 post.