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Panthers close season with shutout defeat at MMC

Sunday, October 21, 2012

(Sentinel photo by Jay Bell) Kingsley-Pierson sophomore Austin Neumann returns a kickoff against Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn.
MARCUS -- Kingsley-Pierson was eliminated from playoff contention Friday night with a 53-0 defeat at the hands of No. 7 Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn.

"That's never the way you want to go out," said K-P co-head coach Adam Rapp. "Marcus is a nice ball club. It's their first year of 8-Man and they've adapted really well.

"We've been unable to finish drives. We had some good moments, but Marcus just played better than us. They're a good ball club."

MMC (9-0, 7-0) scored on the opening possession of the game. K-P senior quarterback Colin Henrich attempted a pass to senior Levi Mahrt on the Panthers' first possession, but the ball was tipped by one defender before another grabbed the ball for an interception before it hit the ground. The Eagles scored on a 39-yard touchdown run by Andrew Hoefling on the next play.

Henrich saw another tipped pass be intercepted on the next drive. The Eagles would score quickly once again for an early 21-0 lead.

"You can't have turnovers against a team like that," Rapp said. "It may be their first year of 8-Man, but they've been playing together, that group of seniors, for four years. They were the better team Friday night."

Henrich was held to 4-for-18 passing for 80 yards and two interceptions. He finished the season 65-for-145 passing for 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Henrich also ran for 30 yards on eight carries. He was the Panthers' leading rusher this season with 502 yards and three touchdowns on 104 rushing attempts.

(Sentinel photo by Jay Bell) Kingsley-Pierson senior Clint Donaldson fakes a reverse to classmate Levi Mahrt Friday in Marcus.
Junior Colton Phelps was second on the team with 448 yards rushing and eight touchdowns on 90 attempts. Phelps season was ended in Week 6 with an ACL injury.

K-P (3-6, 3-4) was also without tight end and middle linebacker, John McNaughton, for much of the season following an ACL injury in Week 2.

K-P lost 56-33 to River Valley (4-5, 3-4) in Week 3. River Valley advanced to the playoffs with a 92-42 defeat of Clay Central-Everly (0-9, 0-7) on Friday.

"I don't like to make any type of excuses," Rapp said. "You are what you are. But not having the guys that have been injured, I do believe that plays a part in your ball club."

K-P starting junior lineman Levi Utterback did not play against MMC due to injury.

"Not having those guys did hurt, but injuries are part of football and the next guy up has to step up," Rapp said.

Sophomore Austin Neumann caught a 46-yard reception against MMC. Neumann was K-P's leading receiver with 24 catches for 495 yards and eight touchdowns this season. Mahrt made 23 receptions for 346 yards and four touchdowns this season.

Senior Alex Plendl shifted from the defensive line to middle linebacker following McNaughton's injury. Plendl led the Panthers with 74 total tackles. Henrich's 42 solo tackles was the most on the team. Mahrt made 33 solo tackles and finished third on the team with 61 total tackles. Senior Ryan Langel's tally of 53 total tackles was fourth-most for K-P.

(Sentinel photo by Jay Bell) Kingsley-Pierson senior quarterback Colin Henrich throws a pass against MMC on Friday.
Senior Clint Donaldson ran 36 times for 107 yards and two touchdowns this season. Donaldson was also sixth on the team with 41 total tackles.

"It's been a really good class of young men," Rapp said of this year's seniors. "They are my third full group since I've been coaching here. So, I've had them for all four years. They're a great young class. They're a good group to work with and very attentive as far as listening to things you're trying to coach them up on.

"They're a fun group. They really were. They'll be missed."

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