Glencoe-Silver Lake quarter back Korey Johnson hands the ball off to running back Will Higgins at their game against Holy Family Catholic in Victoria on Friday. The Panthers beat the Fire 14-3. Photo by Meagan Lynch, SportsEngine
Carsen Streich is, by both his teammates’ and coaches’ accounts, the top running back for a Glencoe-Silver Lake program that has had a carousel line-up in the backfield this season. But Streich was sidelined before Friday night with a leg contusion and the Panthers needed someone to step up.
Enter senior running back Ethan Wraspir, who led Glencoe-Silver Lake (4-1, 2-1) with 63 yards on 26 carries, while scoring both touchdowns in a 14-3 victory over Holy Family Catholic on the Fire’s home turf in Victoria.
For two teams that have put up most of their points in the first two frames this season, the first half was a battle of the defenses. After a Kevin Schepers’ 55-yard kick return to open the game, and two straight marches into the Panthers’ zone, Holy Family twice turned it over on downs. Even then, Glencoe-Silver Lake had trouble getting past midfield.
But with six minutes left in the half, the Panthers turned to their passing game. A pass interference call on Holy Family set Glencoe-Silver Lake on the 50-yard line, then a 47-yard pass from quarterback Korey Johnson to sophomore running back Will Higgins put the Panthers within striking distance.
An offensive penalty and a 5-yard run later, Glencoe-Silver Lake was on the board.
Asked what it was about the rotating backfield, the numerous small-yard carries and an offense that wore down the Fire defense, Wraspir said, “smash mouth football. We just [kept] running it through ‘em.”
Along with 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior running back Spencer Lepel, who heaped on another 47 yards on 11 carries, Wraspir and the Panthers burned out the second-half clock with the short runs. It was the one-two punch in the final quarter that put the game out of reach for the Fire when Wraspir found the end zone again from five yards out.
“Dig deep, work hard, play hard,” Lepel said when asked about the second half momentum.
Holy Family Catholic (3-2, 2-2), ranked No. 10 in Class 3A in the Associated Press poll, had eight first downs in the first half, but didn’t get on the board until a field goal with one second remaining in the half. Running back Nick Hendler, who went down late in the game with an injury, finished the night with 28 yards on 11 carries.
The Fire couldn’t find the end zone despite two deep offensive drives in part because of a Panthers defense that wouldn’t budge with its back against the wall.
“That’s been our bread and butter for the last 25 years,” coach Scott Tschimperle said. “To be tougher than heck on defense, sustain the line of scrimmage on offense, and control the clock, move the chains and convert it to points somehow.”
Although he missed Friday’s matchup, Streich is expected to be back soon as the Panthers enter the season’s homestretch. In his one game this season, a 21-14 Glencoe-Silver Lake win over Albany last week, the 6-foot, 180-pound senior had 20 carries for 125 yards and all three rushing touchdowns. Until his return, however, the Panthers team that keeps winning with a rotating backfield will carry on.
“We knew [Wraspir] was going to run hard, we knew he was going to get yards after contact, but he’s a senior and he’s a warrior,” Tschimperle said. “I’m so proud of how both those guys ran the football with low pads and how our quarterback managed the line of scrimmage and managed the clock. Outstanding.”
Glencoe-Silver Lake running back Ethan Wraspir scores the final touchdown for the Panthers at their game against Holy Family Catholic in Victoria. The Panthers beat the Fire 14-3. Photo by Meagan Lynch, SportsEngine
Glencoe-Silver Lake topped Holy Family Catholic 14-3 in a defensive battle Friday night at Holy Family’s campus in Victoria.
Senior running back Ethan Wraspir led the Panthers (4-1, 2-1) in rushing with 63 yards on 26 carries and both Glencoe-Silver Lake touchdowns. His partner in the backfield, senior Spencer Lepel, added another 47 yards on 11 carries.
Holy Family Catholic (3-2, 2-2), ranked No. 10-3A in the Associated Press poll, had eight first downs in the first half, but didn’t get on the board until a field goal with one second remaining in the half. Running back Nick Hendler, who went down late in the game with an injury, finished the night with 28 yards on 11 carries.
For a pair of teams that have put up most of their points in the first two frames this season, the first half was a battle of the defenses. Holy Family was unable to capitalize on Kevin Schepers’ 55-yard kick return to open the game and then turned it over on downs on two straight marches into the Panthers’ half. Even with the Fire struggling, Glencoe-Silver Lake had trouble getting past the 50-yard-line.
Coming out of the halftime break, however, Wraspir and Lepel had nearly every carry -- and carried the Panthers to a two-hour game victory with probable sectional implications.
Holy Family Catholic running back Nick Hendler fends off Glencoe-Silver Lake linebacker Cody Rae. The Fire lost to the Panthers 14-3. Photo by Meagan Lynch, SportsEngine
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