ASOTIN — The Asotin Panthers had several opportunities to take over a Northeast 2B League game Saturday against Chewelah, but couldn’t capitalize on momentum.
Whether it was a defensive turnover or a penalty, the Panthers couldn’t get out of their own way in a 26-7 loss to the Cougars.
Asotin (1-1) was down 20-0 to start the fourth quarter, but it would get a much-needed spark with a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown by senior defensive back Cam Knight.
After the interception, the Cougars stalled out on offense and had to punt. On the ensuing possession, Panthers senior quarterback Preston Overberg found Knight on a delayed wheel route for a 33-yard gain to set up a first-and-goal on the Cougars’ 3-yard line.
However, the drive stalled there. Knight was stuffed at the line of scrimmage, then Overberg threw three consecutive incompletions resulting in a turnover on downs. It changed the complextion of the game.
“Everyone on the team took turns making mistakes,” Asotin coach Jim Holman said. “I don’t think we came out ready to play. I think we came out on our heels.”
It turned out to be a 12-point swing. On the first play after the goal-line stand, Chewelah running back Kruz Katzer scooted 96 yards for a touchdown to put the Cougars up by the final margin.
The first half was a defensive showcase for the Panthers, who picked off a pass and forced a fumble. The run defense was the biggest strength in the first half for Asotin, which held the Chewelah to 46 yards rushing.
“Outside of the big plays, I thought the run defense played really well tonight,” Holman said. “I liked the way we competed defensively. If we eliminate the mistakes throughout the game, I don’t think it ends the same way.”
The pass defense for the Panthers also was effective in the first half. Cougars quarterback Clayton Jeanneret was 4-for-14 passing for 57 yards and an interception, also running for a second-quarter score.
But Chewelah took advantage of an Asotin special teams mistake in the second quarter with the game scoreless. The Cougars punted, and the ball would hit off the back of Asotin receiver Kamea Kauhi. Chewelah recovered it and three plays later, Cody Gilroy took a handoff in the backfield and found Eli Larson on a 19-yard reverse pass for the first score of the game.
“I was disappointed in our intensity tonight,” Holman said. “We just made mistakes that allowed them to stick around and score points.”
Overberg was sacked four times. Despite the constant pressure, he went 11-for-19 for 112 yards. Holman said his quarterback’s performance allowed the Panthers to stay in it.
“I thought he played well,” Holman said of his two-year starter and captain. “We expect him to be composed in the pocket even with the pressure. I thought he was a leader.”
As for his offensive line, Holman said they got out-played.
“They’re are our most experienced group,” he said. “We returned four starters there. I was a little disappointed. I feel like we lean on them a little bit and they just got outplayed.”
The Panthers next play at 7 p.m. Friday at Reardan.
Chewelah 0 14 6 6—26
Asotin 0 0 0 7—7
Chewelah — Eli Larson 19 pass from Cody Gilroy (kick failed).
Chewelah — Clayton Jeanneret 1 run (Kruz Katzer run)
Chewelah — Katzer 3 run (kick failed).
Asotin — Cam Knight 60 interception return (Clovis kick).
Chewelah — Katzer 96 run (kick failed).
RUSHING — Chewelah: Kruz Katzer 18-179, Jeanneret 12-40, Ryder Forsberg 4-2,. Asotin: Cameron Clovis 3-25, Preston Overberg 5-13, Cam Knight 8-11, Ty Galles 5-(-1).
PASSING — Chewelah: Redinger 9-22-2—141; Gilroy 1-1-0—19. Asotin: Overburg: 11-19-2—112.
RECEIVING — Chewelah: Eli Larson 5-56, Cody Gilroy 3-60, Walker Rainer 1-13. Asotin: Cam Knight 4-48, Cameron Clovis 2-33, Kamea Kauhi 1-20,Isiah Berzett 2-17 Rueben Eggleston 1-3.
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