Panthers advance to second round with 43-18 win
Making a second long road trip in as many weeks, the Concordia High School Panthers' football team travelled five-plus hours to Hugoton for an opening round game of the Class 3A State playoffs, and came away with a 43-18 victory.
It was the first playoff win for a CHS football team in five years, and raised the Panthers' overall record on the season to 5-4.
The Panthers took control of the game on the opening kickoff, recovering an Eagle fumble on the 47-yard line. Concordia could not advance the ball for a first down, and Hugoton initiated a long drive deep into Concordia territory. But the Panther defense stiffened, stopping the Eagles on the 28-yard line.
On the ensuing drive, junior quarterback Wyatt Trost broke loose with back-to-back runs of 23 yards and 21 yards, getting the ball down to the Eagle six yard line. Junior running back Hunter Schroeder took it in from there, scoring the Panthers' first touchdown.
Easton Atwood connected on the extra point, and the Panthers led 7-0 with 2:56 seconds left in the first quarter. The Panthers had gone 70 yards in eight plays. It was just the beginning of a record-setting night for quarterback Trost and the entire Panther offense.
Hugoton closed the game to 7-6 when running back Valles faked a sweep and connected with receiver Daharsh for a 32-yard scoring pass with 6:59 left in the half.
The Panthers added three more points when Atwood kicked a 24-yard field goal with 2:46 remaining in the second quarter.
The Panther defense again stiffened on the Eagles' next drive, and with 1:30 to go they blocked the Hugoton punt, recovering the ball on the Eagles' 35 yard line. Trost then scored his second rushing touchdown with one second left in the half, putting the Panthers up 16-6.
The Panthers unleashed the full power of their multiple attack offense in the second half. With a spectacular catch by Aidan Poore, Trost completed a 24-yard pass play to the Eagles' 14 yard line. Two plays later, with 7:31 left in the third quarter, Trost punched the ball into the end zone. The Panthers led 23-6.
Less than two minutes later, Chas Carlgren caught a tipped pass from Trost and powered down the field for 70 yards. With 4:29 remaining, Hunter Schroeder bulled his way into the end zone for his second touchdown of the night, and the Panthers led 29-6.
Hugoton's potent pass offense came to life, and in barely over a minute they covered 67 yards in three plays, capped by a 32-yard pass play that breeched the Panther goal line with 2:34 to go in the third quarter.
Opening the final quarter of play, the Panthers marched 60 yards on eight plays, with Trost scampering the final eight yards for his third rushing touchdown of the night. The Panthers lead was now 37-12 with 11:51 to go in the fourth quarter.
Hugoton responded immediately, driving the field with a series of counter-sweeps and pass plays from quarterback Harper. The drive ended when Panther senior cornerback Jacob Rosenbaum intercepted a Harper pass in the end zone.
With 5:09 seconds left in the game, Trost again kept the ball on a quarterback-option play and bulled 11 yards into the end zone for his fourth rushing touchdown of the night. The Panthers led 43-12.
Hugoton once again drove the field, and this time found the end zone. With 3:36 left in the game, Austin Dale broke loose on an off-tackle rush from the Panther seven yard line and scored the Eagles' only rushing touchdown of the night.
The contest ended with a Panther victory 43-18.
Trost carried the ball 21 times for 184 yards and four rushing touchdowns. He also connected on eight of 13 passes for 115 yards. Schroeder carried the ball 22 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns, pushing his rushing total for the season over 1000 yards.
The Panthers amassed 27 first downs in the game and tallied 537 yards of total offense, but also had 10 penalties for 80 yards.
The Panthers return to Scott City for their second-round playoff game on Friday, November 8.