Panthers rebound from slow start to beat New Richmond
NEW RICHMOND - After taking its first deficit of the season into the locker room at halftime, the Ellsworth Panthers responded like an undefeated team should, shutting out New Richmond in the second half for a 28-10 Middle Border Conference victory.
“We had a fumble that was deep in our end, and we had some bad penalties. They had the lead at halftime, and that was the first time we were down all season,” said Ellsworth head coach Clair Austin. “So we had a heart-to-heart at halftime at they came out and executed.”
Dennis Schutz got the Panthers on the board in the second quarter with a 64-yard punt return. After his own point-after, Schutz and Ellsworth led 7-0.
The Tigers scored later in the quarter on a Cameron Hausman 38-yard field goal as well as a Ben Werner 4-yard run. The 10-7 New Richmond lead at the break is what inspired Austin’s speech, as well as his team’s second-half play.
Emery Whalen scored from two yards out in the third quarter, followed by Schutz’s own 3-yard jaunt. Schutz then closed the scoring with a 51-yard scamper in the fourth quarter, upping his game total to 138 yards on 16 carries.
But it wasn’t just the offense that got back into the game. Led by Nick Taranto and Brett Freier, the defense allowed just 106 total yards to New Richmond. Both Taranto and Freier had seven tackles while Brody Kemmerer snagged an interception on a screen pass.
And that pick from Kemmerer forced Austin to settle a very recent debt.
“I owe some Blizzards,” Austin said. “I told them that if we pick off a screen pass, I’d buy them Blizzards. But I might go with ice cream cakes instead. It’ll be cheaper for me that way.”
Ellsworth (7-0, 5-0 Middle Border) faces Osceola at home next week. The win over the Tigers (1-6, 1-4) is EHS's first since 2007 and it spoiled NR's Homecoming.