Panthers roll to 42-0 league win over Cowboys
ABILENE — Hitting the road for the first time this season, the Concordia Panthers had four different players score touchdowns on their way to a 42-0 North Central Kansas League win over the Abilene Cowboys on Friday night.
Senior runningback Hunter Schroeder had touchdown runs on four yards and 28 yards for the Panthers.
Dylan Thoman, a senior receiver, scored on a 47-yard run on a reverse.
Junio runningback Keyan Miller had a 17-yard scoring run, and senior quarterback Wyatt Trost got into the end zone on a 1-yard run as Concordia improved to 2-0 on the season and 2-0 in league play.
Coming off of a 14-7 win over Wamego in their season opener, the Panthers have now outscored their first two opponents 56-7.
Concordia, with Schroeder and Miller each rushing for over 100 yards, piled up 412 yards of offense in the game, including 327 on the ground.
Schroeder carried the ball 18 times for 117 yards, and Miller had 107 yards on 12 carries.
Trost added 53 yards on the ground on nine carries and completed 3 of 10 passes for 41 yards.
“Wyatt had 50 yards rushing this week, and then both of our runningbacks have 100 yards. Last week neither one of our backs had 100 yards, and Wyatt had 158 yards. So now, Beloit is going to watch two weeks of video and say ‘Where do we focus at?'” Concordia coach Jordan Echer said.
Concordia will play a non-league game at Beloit Friday night.
After being forced to punt the ball away on its first possession of the game, the Panthers would put together an 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive on its second possession.
Concordia was able to overcome a holding penalty, deep in Abilene territory, when Trost connected with Thoman on an 18-yard completion.
Schroeder would score one play later on a 4-yard run with 11:24 to play in the first half.
Easton Atwood kicked the extra point to put the Panthers on top 7-0.
Abilene, which has been outscored 99-0 in dropping its first two games of the season, would be forced to punt and Concordia got the ball on its own 25-yard line.
The Panthers would go 75 yards in 11 plays.
Miller had a 26-yard run on the second play of the drive.
Trost completed passes of 19 yards to Aidan Poore and nine yards to Thoman. He would score on a 1-yard run on a fourth down play with 3:28 on the clock.
The extra point made it 14-0.
Concordia would again force an Abilene punt.
The snap went over the head of punter Kaleb Becker. He would chase down the ball and attempt to punt it.
The punt was tipped and ended up in the hands of Concordia sophomore Alec Francis, who took it into the end zone for a touchdown with 2:05 to play in the half.
Echer said that the Panthers were attempting to block the punt.
“It just worked out that we were sending all of those guys, and we were in a position with that high snap,” Echer said. “The way the ball bounced, the guy picked it up and tried to kick it. Someone tipped it off of that kick, and it landed right in Alec’s hands. It couldn’t have worked out any better for us.”
Concordia took a 21-0 lead into halftime.
The Panthers moved into Abilene territory on the first possession of the second half, but a Trost pass was intercepted by Jensen Woodworth on the Abilene 1-yard line.
The Cowboys were able to get out of the shadow of their own goal line with a 20-yard run by Caleb Burt, but would have to punt.
Taking off on its own 49-yard line, it would take Concordia just four plays to score.
Miller, who was lined up at the fullback position much of the game, opened the drive with a 20-yard run.
“When a kid like him is willing to play fullback, where he is mostly going to be out there blocking for us, you want to find ways to get him the ball,” Echer said, “to pair his speed with his ability to be physical and block at fullback. I think that is why you saw him break off more than one 15-yard run. All of a sudden they look up and he is already by the defensive line.”
Schroeder would get into the end zone on a 28-yard run with 3:53 left in the third quarter, and the Panthers had a 28-0 cushion.
Abilene, which was limited to 114 yards of total offense by the Concordia defense and crossed the 50-yard line just twice in the game, would go three and out and punt.
The Panthers got the ball on their own 41-yard line.
Three plays later, Thoman took a handoff on a reverse and went 47 yards for a touchdown with 1:30 to play in the third period, to make it 35-0.
“Dylan is probably one of the hardest working kids I have had an opportunity to coach. You are never going to have to question what he is doing. He is going to do the right thing,” Echer said. “On top of that, he is one of our faster guys. We are just going to look for any possible way to get him the ball.”
Concordia would cap off the scoring with a 17-yard touchdown run by Miller with 1:51 left in the game.
The Panthers will now turn their attention to Beloit, which fell to 0-2 with a 18-0 loss to Southeast of Saline on Friday night.
“I told the kids before we got off the bus last night, ‘Enjoy it tonight. Beloit week starts tomorrow,’” Echer said. “The message I sent out this morning was, 'It is Beloit week 1-0.'”