MARYSVILLE — The Concordia Panthers picked up their first win of the season in spite of themselves.
Concordia fumbled the ball away four times, twice in their own territory, but got two touchdown runs each by Drake Hake and Kaleb Pounds on their way to a 29-22 North Central Kansas League victory over Marysville Friday night.
Leading just 22-20, the Panthers turned a Marysville turnover into a game clinching touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
“We almost beat ourselves again,” Concordia coach Tim Lambert said, “There are a lot of things we are getting better at. Our offensive line. Our backs blocked better, and they ran well. Our defense did some good things.”
Concordia, now 1-4 overall and 1-2 in league play, outgained Marysville 373 to 183 but allowed the Bulldogs to hang around.
Marysville has now lost 18 consecutive games, and is 0-5 overall and 0-3 in the league.
Getting the ball on its own 43-yard line following a Marysville punt into a strong wind, Concordia scored on its first possession of the game.
Pounds ripped off a 20-yard run on a third down and six play.
Fullback Karter Steinle found a hole and went 29 yards two plays later.
Hake capped off the drive with a 3-yard scoring run, and the extra point gave the Panthers a 7-0 lead.
Concordia got the ball back on the Marysville 47-yard line when Pounds intercepted a Triston Hormann pass.
The Panthers then fumbled the ball right back to the Bulldogs.
“In the first quarter we are up 7-0 and got the ball back from them, and then give the ball back on a fumble. That series of plays allowed Marysville to stay in the game,” Lambert said.
Concordia forced a Marysville punt, and got the ball back on its own 5-yard line.
Two plays later, Pounds fumbled and the Bulldogs recovered at the Panther 13.
Dylan Jones scored on a 3-yard run to pull Marysville even at 7-7 with 21 seconds to play in the first quarter.
Jace Coppoc returned the kickoff to the 50-yard line.
Concordia had to overcome a holding penalty, and on a fourth down and six, Hake gained 16 yards.
Hake, who carried 23 times for 156 yards, scored on a 26-yard run to put the Panthers up 14-7.
Pinned back at the 1-yard line following a Marysville punt, the Panthers were forced to punt the ball into the wind.
Marysville got the ball on the Concordia 32-yard line.
The Bulldogs ran 11 plays, and Hormann scored on a fourth down run from the one to again tie the game.
Concordia got the ball to start the game, and marched 80 yards in seven plays.
Pounds, who had 122 yards on 12 carries, broke a 15-yard touchdown run with 9:13 remaining in the third quarter.
Lambert opted to go for two, and Hake converted to put the Panthers up 22-14.
Concordia would turn the ball over on a Hake fumble on their own 34-yard line.
Hormann threw a short pass to Tanner Wright, and he went 33 yards for a touchdown.
The Bulldogs missed the extra point attempt, but trailed just 22-20.
“We made a terrible play on a bubble (screen), “ Lambert said.
Following a pair of punts, Concordia turned the ball over again, and Marysville had it at their own 46-yard line with just over 10 minutes to play.
The Bulldogs picked up two first downs before Ethan Bechard made a diving interception on a Hormann pass on the Panther five.
Concordia needed just seven plays to go 95 yards.
Pounds scored on a 32-yard run. The extra point put the Panthers on top 29-20.
Concordia forced a Marysville punt, and was able to run out the clock on the first win of the season.
The Panthers gained all 373 yards on the ground.
Steinle picked up 60 yards on 14 carries.
Bridger Yaussi rushed for 85 yards on 21 carries for Marysville.
Hormann completed 4 of 12 passes for 62 yards and a touchdown.
Concordia will play a second consecutive league game on the road at Chapman on Friday night.