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Panthers steamroll Thunderbirds

NRHEG's Jason Jongbloedt looks to avoid Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop's Brady Roiger as Zeke Erickson and Lucas Herrmann pancake defenders Friday at New Richland. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

NRHEG’s Jason Jongbloedt looks to avoid Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop’s Brady Roiger as Zeke Erickson and Lucas Herrmann pancake defenders Friday at New Richland. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

NEW RICHLAND — Whether it was air mail or ground delivery, the NRHEG football team was an equal-opportunity steamroller.

Senior quarterback Palmer Peterson completed 7-of-11 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns, and the Panthers’ backfield racked up 296 yards on 46 carries to crush Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop 41-6 Friday at New Richland.

“When Palmer gets time, he’s going to put it on the money,” said NRHEG coach Dan Stork. “He’s been throwing some excellent balls.”

In addition to a completion to his younger brother, Perry Peterson, a sophomore, for 23 yards and two completions to junior tight end Chad Agrimson for 51 yards, Peterson’s main target was John Cole, who towered over defenders to reel in four passes for 111 yards.

“When you’ve got a (6-foot-6-inch) receiver, you just have to toss it up to him,” Palmer Peterson said. “It’s pretty nice.”

In the trenches, NRHEG was led by Zeke Erickson, Jack Schultz, Lucas Herrmann, Jon Weller, Alex Buckmeier and Wyatt Fitterer, among others, Stork said.

“Our line played outstanding,” he said. “Zeke is leading us up front. He’s playing great on both sides of the ball.”

Erickson led the Panthers’ defense with 5 1/2 tackles, and Schultz had five.

On the ground, NRHEG was led by Jason Jongbloedt who made the most of his 14 attempts. He averaged 10.4 yards per carry and found the end zone twice.

“We’ve got a great line up front to give us some big holes, and our backs are quick and powerful,” Palmer Peterson said.

Jongbloedt also excelled on defense as a part of the Panthers’ secondary.

“For whatever reason, people want to pick on him, and he’s been a shut-down corner for us,” Stork said. “He’s always in great position, he’s got great feet and he comes up to fill the run. He’s an outside linebacker who can cover a receiver.”

Perry Peterson added 96 yards on 11 carries.

“Perry comes in and gives you another dimension of shiftiness,” Stork said. “He makes people miss and hits that second gear. They (Jongbloedt and Perry Peterson) are a nice duo to have back there.”

In the first quarter, NRHEG built a 21-0 lead on three rushing touchdowns: two by Jongbloedt and one by Perry Peterson.

After a five-yard touchdown pass from Palmer Peterson to Cole, the Panthers took a 28-0 lead at halftime.

Palmer Peterson found Cole again with 9:42 left in the third quarter to take a 35-0 lead.

Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop’s lone touchdown was scored with 50 seconds left in the third quarter on a 24-yard pass from Gustavo Muñoz to Jacob Woods.

NRHEG’s Lucas Bailey tacked on a 41-yard rushing touchdown with 1:29 left in the game.

The Panthers won the turnover battle 2-1, but committed nine penalties for 95 yards.

Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop fell to 0-4.

Next, NRHEG (3-1, 3-1 South Central Blue) will play at Sibley East (1-3, 1-2 South Central Blue) 7 p.m. Friday. Sibley East is coming off a 20-0 loss Friday at Mayer Lutheran, a team the Panthers beat 14-7.