Mtn. Grove couldn’t have come up with a more perfect way to start its 2013 football campaign. Meaning that for Logan-Rogersville, it was the worst way to start the season.
Mtn. Grove, ranked #5 in Class 2, had a strong team of returnees from last season when they went undefeated during the regular season only to lose their only game in the playoffs to MV/Birch Tree-Liberty. Logan-Rogersville, two years removed from a Class 3 state championship, was coming off a 5-6 season and expecting a better season in 2013. But for Wildcat fans, there would be little to be happy about as the Rogersville offense managed just one first down the entire game, none against the first team Mtn. Grove defense.
The game started with an exchange of interceptions, with Rogersville picking off a Mtn. Grove pass at their own 38, only to turn the ball back-over just three plays later on their own 42. The Panthers then took seven plays to score, converting on 4th down twice, with Ricky Healey going in from 12 yards-out.
In the second quarter Mtn. Grove moved 78 yards in 9 plays with quarterback Bobby Otwell keeping the final two yards for the Panthers second touchdown. The big play in the drive was a 23 yard pass from Otwell to Corey Allen down to the Rogersville three yard line.
While Mtn. Grove missed an extra point attempt and a two-point conversion on their first two touchdowns, they did accomplish far-more on special teams with their kick-offs. Their squib kicks that bounced just past the Rogersville front line caused several mad scrambles, and the Panthers recovered one on the Wildcat 36 to set-up their third touchdown as Gavin Bolin’s three yard run made it 19-0 at the intermission.
Mtn. Grove added 19 more second half points, with two rushing touchdowns by Bolin and Cole Jones and a passing touchdown from Otwell, who was 6-7 for 105 yards. Otwell rushed for 90 yards while Healy added 77 and Bolin 45.
“For our kids to do what they did tonight is very exciting for me, the players, and the community,” Mtn. Grove head coach Rich Johnson said after the game. Of his defense allowing just one first down, Johnson added, “our kids buy-in to what we’re trying to teach them. They’re tough, hard-nosed guys. Maybe not the best athletes in the world, but they do what we ask them to do and it was an amazing performance by our defense.”
And when asked to compare this year’s squad to last year’s 11-1 team?
“This team is capable of doing whatever it wants to do,” Johnson said. “In high school football attitude plays a big role. We’re bigger, faster, and stronger that last year and we have a year under our belt. And we’re not gonna be satisfied with what we did in week one.”
An ominous quote for the rest of the Panthers opponents to consider.
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