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Penalties cost the Panthers in opener

Powell’s Ethan Asher (11) puts a hard hit on Douglas’ Brady Brooks after a first down reception with 10:47 left in the third quarter. Powell’s Ethan Asher (11) puts a hard hit on Douglas’ Brady Brooks after a first down reception with 10:47 left in the third quarter. Tribune photos by Mark Davis

Visiting Douglas outlasts PHS 20-6

Plagued by penalties and early-season rust, the Powell Panthers fell Friday night to the visiting Douglas Bearcats 20-6 to open the season — in a game that was closer than the final score would indicate.

Powell, Douglas, Evanston and Riverton were the only 3A football teams to have seven games scheduled for the season, rather than eight, so the results from their weekends will count toward their overall records.

“I thought it was a good football game with a lot of the things you would expect zero week, from both teams,” said head coach Chanler Buck. “With that being said, you know turnovers, not being able to execute on defense and offense at times, but we saw some flashes of some really good things.”

Douglas scored its first touchdown with 7:53 remaining in the first quarter. Powell’s defense then settled in, holding the Bearcats from scoring again for the rest of the half.

The Panthers wasted no time getting on the board in the second half, as Josh Wolfe returned the kickoff for a 76-yard touchdown to tie the game at 6-6.

For the extra point and a chance to take the lead, Powell faked the point after attempt but was unable to capitalize. Douglas took a 13-6 lead during the third quarter.

“I told these kids this thing looked like it got out of hand a little bit there for three minutes in the fourth,” Buck said. “Other than that it came down to some little stuff, little stuff.”

As the game wound down in the fourth quarter, Douglas scored its final touchdown of the evening for the 20-6 victory.

“Good teams will just chop, chop, chop their way down and punch it in,” Buck said. “It seemed like once we got that momentum, got those wheels turning, Murphy’s [Law] showed up and zero week, you get a holding call, a block in the back, you get a turnover and they just unfortunately came at the wrong times. Those were big determining factors and gave Douglas a good opportunity to score.”

Penalties were a factor for both teams, as Douglas was flagged 14 times for 114 yards and Powell 11 times for 80 yards.

As a team, Powell had 10 tackles for loss of yards; Douglas had nine.

Throughout the game, Douglas was able to get a total of 14 first downs with 10 coming from passing plays. Powell only tallied 11 first downs with three coming from passing plays.

The Panthers had a total of 359 yards for the game, 71 of those yards through the air. Douglas had 387 total yards, with 161 passing.

“Really pleased with our quarterback — our first year-starter — his composure and his ability to be comfortable in the pocket when he has several guys coming at him,” Buck said of junior Kaelan Groves. “He did a good job, did what he was coached to do,”

Groves completed six out of 19 pass attempts for the total of 71 yards, and one interception.

Wolfe had a total of 54 yards in eight carries and AJ Lewis had a total of 43 yards in 13 carries.

Of the Douglas team, Buck said the Bearcats are a talented squad.

“You’re going to see a great record out of them this year,” he said. “I don’t know if we’ll see them again, but they are going to be top of 3A for sure.”

While the loss will count toward the Panthers’ record, it was a non-conference game.

“This is a great opportunity for our boys; this is a zero week football game,” Buck said.

He added that, “if we take advantage of the correction and the mistakes and the study of film and having a good positive week, we should have a step forward on any other team that we’re going to see this year.”

“And I have no doubt that we can do that; I have no doubt that our kids understand that,” Buck said. “We just got to have a good positive week in practice and get ready for a Worland team.”

Powell will host the Worland Warriors at home on Friday at 7 p.m. for the first official game of the season and the first conference game of the year.

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