Panthers fall short to Irish

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CHAPMAN — Concordia coach Tim Lambert needed few words to sum up the circumstances that resulted in the Panthers’  27-21 North Central Kansas League loss to Chapman on Friday night.“Deja vu” was all Lambert needed to say.
Two weeks prior, the Panthers trailed Abilene by six points early in the fourth quarter, ran 24 plays, marched 79 yards and ran over nine minutes off the clock before the drive stalled in a 20-14 defeat.
Trailing Chapman 27-21 early in the fourth quarter, Concordia forced a Chapman punt and got the ball at its own 20-yard line with 11:18 on the clock.
Sending the offense out onto the field, Lambert told his players “Eleven minutes”.
“Milk the clock and win by one,” Lambert said.
Converting twice on fourth down and twice on third down, the Panthers moved the ball to the Irish 7-yard line in 20 plays.
The longest play of the drive was an 8-yard run by Kaleb Pounds.
Drake Hake was thrown for a 1-yard loss on first down.
Pounds picked up two yards on a second down and three on third to get the ball to the three.
Facing a fourth down and goal, the Panthers tried to get Hake on the edge, but he was thrown for a 4-yard loss.
“I haven’t seen the film to see exactly what happened,” Lambert said of the final four plays.
Chapman was able to run the final seconds off the clock to improve to 2-4 overall and 2-2 in league play.
Concordia falls to 1-5 overall and 1-3 in the league.
The Panthers open Class 4A district play by hosting Colby on Friday night.“Get up and to work,” Lambert said.
Chapman, which rolled up 207 of its 274 total yards on offense in the first half, scored the first time it had the ball.
Following a Concordia punt, the Irish went 59 yards in five plays.
Robert Walsh, who rushed for 190 yards on 17 carries, broke a 37-yard run on third down and two.
Two plays later, Bryce Winters threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Gavin Canady with 6:09 to play in the first quarter.
Concordia answered with an 11-play, 72-yard scoring drive.
The Panthers converted twice on fourth down and one, and Pounds got into the end zone on a 30-yard run.
With the game tied at 7-7, Concordia forced a punt but was stopped on a fourth down and two.
Chapman fumbled the ball back to the Panthers.
A Zach Kyle pass was intercepted by Canady at the Concordia 49.
Two plays later, Logan Higbee intercepted a Winters’ pass and returned it for a touchdown to give the Panthers the 14-7 lead.
“He (Higbee) has been doing a good job in JV. We have been trying to find some time for him in games. He had three defensive touchdowns in JV games,” Lambert said.
Chapman responded with a 66-yard scoring drive.
Walsh, who had 140 of his yards in the first half, finished off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run.
There was a bobbled snap on the extra point, and the Irish trailed 14-13.
Chapman forced a Concordia punt, and got the ball back on its own 30-yard line.
Walsh ripped off a 35-yard touchdown run, and ran in the two-point conversion to give the Irish a 21-14 halftime lead.
Concordia got a stop on the first possession of the second half.
The Panthers went 76 yards in 10 plays, and Hake scored on a 27-yard run.
Higbee kicked the extra point to tie the game at 21-21.
Hake carried 26 times for 102 yards.
Walsh took the ensuing kickoff inside his own 1-yard line, and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown.
It was the only score for the Irish in the second half.
“We shut them down, but we kept the ball away from them most the second half. So that helped. We played better defensively the second half,” Lambert said.
Concordia went three and out, and punted.
Pinned back at its own 16-yard line, Chapman got a 53-yard run by Walsh.
The Panthers held, and forced a punt that went into the end zone.
Concordia would then run 24 plays and go 73 yards before the drive ended.
Pounds rushed for 99 yards on 17 carries for Concordia.
Karter Steinle added 53 yards on 15 carries.
Logan Lexlow had 89 yards on 15 carries for Chapman.


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