Park City Panthers beat St. Ignatius, advance to quarterfinals

Connor Waddingham
Thursday, November 7, 2019
Outlook photos by Connor Waddingham                        Quarterback Carson Baker throwing a pass in the Panthers’ playoff game against the Mission Bulldogs.

Outlook photos by Connor Waddingham
          
            Quarterback Carson Baker throwing a pass in the Panthers’ playoff game against the Mission Bulldogs.

Park City receiver Garrett McMillen awaiting a play call from his coach.

Park City receiver Garrett McMillen awaiting a play call from his coach.

For the first time since 2006, the Park City Panthers football team has won a playoff game and is moving onto the next round. The Panthers took on the Saint Ignatius Bulldogs in the first round of this year’s 8-Man State Playoffs on Saturday. It was a game that had a total of five different lead changes, but Park City’s 14-point fourth quarter helped them regain and maintain the lead. The Panthers ended the game with a 26-yard interception for a touchdown with just a minute left. It was a thrilling game for Park City, and they now move on to the quarterfinals to take on the Fort Benton Longhorns.

The Panthers received the opening kick in this game, but could not score on their first drive. The field was noticeably frozen in some areas, and muddy in others, which affected the speed of some of the players. The Mission Bulldogs marched down the field on their first drive of the game, however, and scored to cap it off. They did not convert their point-after attempt, but struck first in this game, and led 6-0 after the first quarter.

The Panthers first score of the game came early in the second quarter. Quarterback Carson Baker connected with Garrett Zimdars for a 30-yard score. The point-after attempt was no good, but the Panthers tied this game at 6-6.

The Bulldogs shortly scored their second touchdown of the game after the Panthers’ initial score, and regained the lead, 12-6. Their touchdown was a deep, 51-yard passing score. Mission followed this with another big touchdown; a 60-yard rushing score which gave them a two-possession lead. The Bulldogs led 18-6 with just two minutes to play in the first half, but Park City answered back. Baker scored the Panthers’ second score of the game, resulting from a long, successful drive. He scored on a one–yard run, but once again, could not convert their point-after try. Park City cut back into the lead, but still found themselves trailing at halftime, 18-12.

After three lead changes in the first half, the second half was just as action-packed. The Panthers were the first team to strike in the third quarter, with the touchdown being scored once again by Garrett Zimdars. Garret McMillen complete a pass to the regular quarterback Carson Baker for the point-after try, the first successful one by either team in the game. The Panthers then regained the lead from this score, 20-18. Shortly after the Panthers score, the Bulldogs had an answer, as they busted off another big play. One of their running backs ran for a 34-yard score to regain the lead, 24-20.

The fourth quarter is where the Panthers took over and won this game. Coming into the quarter down by four, Park City played great defense and scored enough points to regain the lead. Five minutes into the fourth quarter, Carson Baker threw for his second touchdown pass of the game, and third overall, to regain the Panther lead. They led 28-24 after the touchdown and extra-point conversion.

Later on in the game, as the Bulldogs were attempting to drive down the field, the Panthers made a huge play. Tucker Johnstone came up clutch on defense, intercepting a Mission pass attempt and taking it 26 yards for a touchdown. This score cemented the Panthers lead, putting them up by 10 points. The Bulldogs attempted to go down the field and score after this, but to no avail. The Panthers wound up pulling off the fourth quarter comeback, and winning this game 34-24.

This was a big win for the Panthers. This win sends them onto the quarterfinal round. Park City will travel to Fort Benton this weekend to take on the #1 seed from the North division, the Fort Benton Longhorns. The Longhorns are coming off a 62-0 win against Culbertson in the first round. Best of luck to the Panthers as they attempt to make it to the semifinals this weekend! Their game is scheduled to kickoff on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 1:00 p.m.

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