By Sherry Houben
The Panthers’ 2016 football season came to an emotional end on Friday night, when they lost their championship bid to Kimberly under the lights in Oshkosh.
Kimberly, the defending state champs, came out strong and scored right away on the first possession, making the score 7-0 with 9:39 left in the first. Panther fans may have worried that the Papermakers first score was too easy, but the Panthers answered two minutes later after Gus Tuner-Zick’s long run down to the two yard line. Joey Hauser caught the TD from quarterback Beau Rosenthal and the extra point was good. The score was tied with 7:25 remaining in the first.
But that was the last score for SPASH. The game became a battle of back-and-forth between the teams, and SPASH wasn’t able to restart its offense.
A few penalties for illegal formation and off-sides didn’t help the Panthers’ cause, and Kimberly would score twice more before halftime.
Kimberly’s offense was too much for the Panthers to handle from there; with 1:47 left, Kimberly recovered an onside kick, denying SPASH more time to their offense going.
The 28-7 loss was emotional for the team; there were tears shed as Coach Pete McAdams held his customary post-game gathering of coaches and players on the field.
“You played a great season and that’s what got us here,” McAdams said. “You should be very proud of that.”
Kimberly continues a win streak of 55 games. They will play for the championship in Madison next week.