Panthers overcome Orion 49-14

Mindy Carls
Orion’s Quinn Hoftender and an Erie-Prophetstown defender wrestle for the ball, which Hoftender came down with. He spun and ran into the end zone at 10:28 in the third quarter to give Orion a 14-13 lead once Blayden Murdock kicked the extra point.

Orion’s varsity football team is resilient, coach Chip Filler said following a 49-14 Homecoming loss to Erie-Prophetstown on Saturday, Sept. 25.

The boys need to bounce back to win three of the last four regular-season games to have a shot at the playoffs, he said.

Erie-Prophetstown scored on a run at 6:58 to go in the first quarter.

After forcing Orion to punt, the Panthers marched down to the Charger 10 only to have Orion’s Maddix Moninski intercept a pass.

Midway through the second quarter, the Orion defense stalled the Erie-Prophetstown. When the Panthers had to punt, the Charges took over at their own 43. A few snaps later, Cole Kratzberg bulled into the end zone. Blayden Murdock kicked the extra point to tie the score at 7-7.

Less than a minute later, Erie-Prophetstown regained the lead on a 77-yard run. The kick failed, leaving the visitors with a 13-7 advantage.

With about two minutes to go in the first half, Orion punter Jared Mohr’s kick rolled all the way back to the Erie-Prophetstown 10. The Charger defense stuffed the quarterback at the 10. On the next play, the quarterback fumbled the ball and Kale Stropes recovered the ball at the nine.

But the Chargers couldn’t take advantage of their good fortune.

“The play that really hurt us was fourth-and-1 at the end of the first half,” Filler said. “It was super inopportune for one of our best players to have his helmet come off.”

Without a helmet, the player had to miss the next play.

On fourth down, Maddix Moninski was stopped short of the goal line.

“We didn’t block well for Maddix,” Filler said.

To start the second half, Orion kicked off to Erie-Prophetstown. The kick returner fumbled and Murdock recovered the ball at the Orion 47. Three plays later, Mohr passed to Quinn Hoftender, who fought a defender for the all. Hoftender landed with the ball in arms, spun and ran to the end zone. The 36-yard pass and the Murdock kick put Orion up 14-13.

After that, it was all Erie-Prophetstown.

Orion did play well, Filler said. Mohr performed well under duress.

The Chargers will be good in a couple of years, Filler said.