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Injuries hinder Panthers in playoffs against Bucs

NRHEG quarterback Palmer Peterson carries the ball during Wednesday's Section 2AA quarterfinals against Blue Earth at New Richland. - Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

NRHEG quarterback Palmer Peterson carries the ball during Wednesday’s Section 2AA quarterfinals against Blue Earth at New Richland. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

NEW RICHLAND — Suffering blow after blow, the Panthers eventually fell in the section 2AA quarterfinals.

The Blue Earth football team defeated NRHEG 48-22 Wednesday at New Richland to end the Panthers’ season.

NRHEG coach Dan Stork said his team was hit hard with injuries during Wednesday’s game. The Panthers lost linebacker Perry Peterson on their second offensive play from scrimmage, and then lost quarterback Palmer Peterson early in the second half with a knee injury. NRHEG also lost linemen Zeke Erickson and Jon Weller to ankle and knee injuries, respectively, and running back Jason Jongbloedt to a hand injury.

The Buccaneers came out of the gate strong Wednesday, racking up 14 points in the first quarter and 21 in the second quarter. NRHEG was looking at a 35-0 possible shutout at halftime. Blue Earth then tacked on another seven points in the third and six points in the fourth quarters.

“(Blue Earth) is a very good football team,” Stork said. “Their team speed was incredible.”

The Panthers’ offense struggled to get on the board Wednesday, scoring all points in the fourth quarter.

NRHEG first got on the board with 6:11 left in the fourth. Sam Prigge, in for injured Palmer Peterson at quarterback, connected with wide receiver John Cole for a three-yard touchdown pass.

About three minutes later, Prigge completed a 14-yard pass to Chad Agrimson for a touchdown, which was followed by a two-point conversion run by Carter Fischer. The Panthers’ last touchdown was scored on a nine-yard run by Trey Hoppe and followed with a two-point conversion run by Wyatt Fitterer.

Palmer Peterson completed seven of 18 pass attempts for 25 yards before leaving the game. Prigge then went 4 of 6 with a total of 31 passing yards with two touchdowns.

Hoppe led the Panthers in rushing with 73 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. Jongbloedt contributed 40 yards on 12 carries before his injury, and Perry Peterson posted 28 yards on his one carry of the night before exiting the game early.

Cole had 19 yards on three receptions with one touchdown, and Agrimson posted 14 yards on his one catch for a touchdown.

NRHEG’s season record was 6-3 overall and 6-2 in the South Central Blue District.

About Colleen Harrison

Colleen Harrison is the photo editor at the Albert Lea Tribune. She does photography and writes general-assignment stories.

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