PRAIRIE CITY - Spectators at the Prairie City athletic complex saw an offensive battle last Friday, Aug. 29.
Prairie City and Imbler scored a combined 13 touchdowns and nearly 100 points in the first game played on the new field at the athletic complex. Imbler was on top 60-36 at the end.
Prairie City coach Scott Hoberg said he was happy with his team, despite the loss.
"Our kids played hard for the whole game," Hoberg said. "For some of them, it was their first varsity game ever. I'm really proud of their effort."
The Panthers fell 52-16 to Imbler last season. Imbler coach Lee Lowe said he feels Prairie City has made progress in the last year.
"You know Prairie City is 100 percent improved from last season," Lowe said. "It was a good game. We didn't handle their speed well early on. We finally started getting going a little in the third quarter."
The score was tied 16-16 after two drives for each team. Dylan Hendriksen broke free and took the ball 65 yards for the Panthers' first touchdown. Colton Schulze went 40 yards to score the team's second. However, that would be Prairie City's final touchdown of the half.
Imbler put three more in the end zone to lead 38-16 going into halftime. Imbler's Zack Phillips caught two passes for touchdowns in the first half, taking one more than 40 yards for a touchdown. Imbler quarterback Dalton McDaniel also hit Jace Eisiminger in the end zone early in the game. Five of Imbler's eight touchdowns came on passing plays.
Prairie City fought back in the second half and nearly closed the gap. The Panthers' defense got their first stop early in the second half, and forced a turnover on downs at the 43 yard line, but were unable to capitalize on the drive. Imbler continued to increase its lead in the third quarter and led by 30 points early in the fourth quarter.
Prairie City answered with two big plays by Schulze. He added two touchdowns on 15-yard runs to close the gap to 52-16 with just over three minutes left in the game.
Unfortunately for Prairie City, the Panthers couldn't get any closer. Imbler's workhorse, Nick West, put the final touchdown of the game on the board with a minute remaining, effectively ending the game. West ran the majority of the plays for Imbler, but he is actually playing out of position because the team is missing some players.
Schulze picked up touchdowns in the game, but Hoberg used Brandon Crisler to push the ball down the field most of the time. Crisler had one touchdown in the game.