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Panthers win daytime football opener

“Friday Night Lights” suddenly became Friday afternoon sunlight as the Glencoe-Silver Lake football opener was played in the middle of the afternoon on Friday, Aug. 31.
The game was suddenly rescheduled from a standard 7 p.m. start to a 2 p.m. kickoff due to the threat of severe weather forecast for last Friday evening.
Despite the switcharoo, the Panthers still got the result they wanted. Despite some late-game hijinx, GSL moved to 1-0 on the season with a 27-20 defeat over its spirited visitors.
“We won, but we have to get back to work this week,” coach Scott Tschimperle said.
A comfortable 27-6 lead with just over six minutes to play became a tense affair late due to a pair of Panther fumbles that were converted into 14 points by the Falcons before time ran out on their comeback attempt.
“Even though we won, we let (Foley) back into the game,” Tschimperle said. “That’s something that can’t be done.”
A game that ended in nailbiting manner also began in a tightly contested manner.
GSL quarterback Korey Johnson concluded his team’s eight play, 80-yard possession to open the season with a 20-yard touchdown run to put the home side up 6-0.
Foley knotted the score 6-6 on its inaugural possession and appeared to be on its way to taking a lead before its second possession stalled at the Panther 25-yard line.
In the second quarter, Johnson concluded GSL’s third possession in much the same manner as the first, with another 20-yard touchdown run that put the Panthers up 13-6 after Damien Silus’ extra point.
On Foley’s next possession, Brett Baumgarten drove the Falcons back to their own 10-yard line to force a punt following a 14-yard quarterback sack.
That play set up a blocked punt by Gabe Roepke that Cody Rae recovered in the end zone to put GSL up 20-6 on another Silus extra point.
That’s where the score remained until early in the fourth quarter.
Running back Will Higgins posted GSL’s final touchdown on a five-yard run just two minutes into the final stanza to give the Panthers a 21-point lead that appeared rather safe.
However, a GSL fumble with 6:30 remaining in the fourth quarter was converted into a Foley touchdown just one minute later to make the score 27-14.
Another Panther fumble was turned into a third Falcon touchdown in the closing seconds. However, Foley failed to convert on both a two-point conversion and an ensuing onside kick attempt, ending the visitor’s threat.
Despite his team holding on for victory, Tschimperle was less than impressed with the concluding minutes of the game.
“I don’t know if we had put it in cruise control or what, but the way that game ended just can’t happen,” he said. “Still, we won. It is better to be working on what we have to work on with a 1-0 record than an 0-1 record.”
Johnson finished the contest with 105 yards rushing on 11 attempts to go with his two touchdowns. He also completed four passes.
Higgins ran the ball 14 times for 64 yards, with Riley Ruzicka going for 72 yards on 15 carries. Jacob Stifter caught two passes for 20 yards, while Ty Christensen caught one pass for 17 yards.
GSL is scheduled to return to its normal nighttime schedule this Friday when the Panthers host Watertown-Mayer in a 7 p.m. kickoff.
The Royals lost 41-14 to Rockford last week.
Heading into that game, GSL is contending with the loss of Roepke, who was forced from last Friday’s game with an injured shoulder suffered in the second half.