Slow start hurts K-P against No. 7 Newell-Fonda
NEWELL — The Kingsley-Pierson football team outscored No. 7 Newell-Fonda by three in the second half, but a 13-0 halftime deficit was too much to overcome for the Panthers in a 32-22 loss.
Newell-Fonda struck first on a 20-yard touchdown run from quarterback Gabe Sievers in the first quarter and added six more points the next frame to take a 13-0 lead into halftime on a goal-line run from Hunter Christensen.
K-P had some opportunities in the first half, but could not cash in. The team nearly answered the opening Mustangs score as they got to 1st and goal, but the team lost yardage on a pair of plays and two other incomplete passes led to a turnover on downs. The Panthers failed to score right before halftime after getting the ball inside the 15.
The red zone woes continued at the start of the third quarter as a lost fumble set up a six play, 67-yard scoring drive for the Mustangs which was capped off by a 4-yard run for Will Pitstick.
The Mustangs extended their lead to 26-0 after a forced-fumble sack led to a second fumble recovery for Garett Meyer. Newell-Fonda capitalized on the turnover by getting a 32-yard touchdown pass from Sievers to Jaron Vanderhoff.
The Panthers finally started to click in the last 18 minutes in the contest. Jackson Howe got the team on the scoreboard on a 10-yard quarterback run.
The Mustangs added one more score on a 46-yard Sievers scamper before the Panthers closed with the final 16 points of the night.
Josh Harvey scored on a 5-yard run and Derek Reinking pulled down an 8-yard pass for the Panthers who pulled to within 10 points. K-P was unable to recover an onside kick, but forced a three-and-out to get the ball back. The hopes of a comeback were dashed as Howe was picked off.
Howe ended the game 17-of-31 passing for 183 yards with a touchdown and interception.
His top receiver in the game was Damon Schmid who had seven grabs for 93 yards. Evan Neumann snagged a pair of catches for 54 yards.
Harvey added five catches for 26 yards, but most of his success came as a runner out of the backfield where he gained 151 yards on 28 carries.
Kole Reis led the K-P defense with 12.5 tackles, followed by Reinking with seven tackles, but the defense was unable to force any turnovers to make up for the three giveaways on offense.
Newell-Fonda moves to 5-0 overall with the showdown for the district title on the line next week as they host Remsen St. Mary’s in a matchup of ranked and unbeaten squads.
The Panthers fall to 2-3 overall as they’ve now lost nine in a row against the Mustangs. Kingsley-Pierson has followed up each of their losses this season with a win and will hope to do so again next week as they are scheduled to host Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire for homecoming on Friday.