The St. Mary's Colgan Panthers and the Galena Bulldogs entered their Friday night Class 3A, District 8 opening clash at Hutchinson Field with matching 5-1 records on the season, both teams' only losses coming against undefeated Columbus — which closed out league play Friday night with a 46-0 win over Baxter Springs for its first CNC title since joining the league last season. The Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League rivals faced the additional challenge of the steady rain cascading from the mid-October sky. How would the elements factor into special teams, footing in the run game (blocking, running) and the passing game on the field turf of Hutchinson Field? The Colgan defense ultimately had no answer for Galena junior running backs Gabe Helton and Logan Johnson, who combined for over 270 yards and four TDs behind a powerful offensive line during a 30-14 win for the Bulldogs. “We talked about everything,” Colgan head coach Chuck Smith said about his talk at halftime with the defense. “It was a 16-7 game at halftime so we were down nine points, which is two scores. I felt like the kids played a gutsy first half and hung in there and did a good job and they were in the ballgame. “When it's 16-14 (in the fourth quarter), then it's anybody ballgame. They got a third-and-long in their own territory and they pick up a key first down which if they don't do that we're inside the 50 and man, we kick a field goal and we have a chance to win so I was real proud of our kids. We played hard and we lost to a good Galena team.” Johnson had trouble handling the opening kickoff by Grant Cason and the Bulldogs opened their first possession at their own 5-yard line after Colgan's Austin Commons crushed Johnson as he desperately struggled to get his forward progress, where a three-and-out and a punt from near the end zone resulted in a Drew Dawson 40-yard punt return for touchdown. The Bulldogs answered on their second possession, driving 65 yards in 11 plays, 10 runs. It was "The Logan Johnson Show," as No. 32 caught a 3-yard pass on the only throw of the drive and ran for 50 yards on the drive, including first-down gains of 14 and 22, a 2-yard touchdown and the conversion run for a 8-7 Galena lead with 3 minutes, 35 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Galena mixed in a little bit of Helton and Drake Mittag but it was predominantly Johnson on the drive. Colgan threw a pair of incomplete passes on its first possession and a shanked punt by Cason resulted in the Bulldogs taking over at the Colgan 42. The Bulldogs, however, proved their worst enemy as a holding penalty and a false start moved them back into their own territory and the drive stalled out, although a potential touchdown pass went just out of the reach of Johnson. Galena maintained its regained control of field position and took over at the Colgan 44 after another Panther three-and-out. The Bulldogs smashed the Panthers right in the mouth with a six-play, 44-yard scoring drive, their fourth possession. Helton for 12, Johnson for 3, Helton for 7 and 8, Johnson for 2 and Helton for 12 and the score. Helton added the two points and Galena led 16-7 with 9:03 left in the half. The third Colgan drive saw the Panthers gain their first downs of the contest — senior fullback Christian Cedeno up the gut for 10-plus yards, a horse collar penalty on Galena tacked on 15 yards to a Dawson 5-yard reception, a Tucker Hoffman 5-yard catch on a fourth-and-4 at the Galena 35 and a Luke Marquardt 11-yard gain on a quarterback keeper but it was all for naught as Helton intercepted a Marquardt pass in the end zone and returned it back to the Galena 30. The Panthers answered the bell, stuffing Johnson for minimal gains and forcing a three-and-out. Neither team had much success punting but Helton managed a 35-yard boot down to the Colgan 32. Halftime came quickly for the Panthers and Galena took a 16-7 edge into the locker room. Johnson and Helton combined for over 120 yards on 20-plus carries and scored all 16 first-half points for the Bulldogs, eight apiece. On their second drive after halftime, after stuffing Galena on its first drive and gaining a pair of first downs on this second drive, Colgan lost 35 yards on a series of penalties and big Galena plays. Aaron Cockerel tackled Cedeno for a 7-yard loss after a holding penalty and the Bulldogs sacked Marquardt for a loss of 16 after Dawson gained 14 yards back on a screen pass. The Bulldogs went back to their ground attack, alternating Helton and Johnson carries on the exact same two plays every time and daring the Panthers to stop them. Colgan started buckling down on the Bulldogs and forced Galena to pass on a fourth-and-4 at the Colgan 20. The Kyler Cook pass resulted in a Dawson interception in the end zone, preserving the score at 16-7. On back-to-back plays, Dawson generated the longest runs from scrimmage, his gains of 8 and 41 moving Colgan into Galena territory with its best offensive surge of the second half. On a third-and-long play at the Galena 19, just as it looked as if the Bulldogs could stop the Panthers and just as it looked as if Marquardt would be sacked for a loss, Marquardt found his way and found a wide-open Dawson for a 19-yard touchdown pass, as Dawson made the catch and balanced his feet. Cason made the extra point and Colgan trailed 16-14 with 7:45 left. Dawson made several big plays on the night — his punt return for a score, his interception in the end zone and his touchdown catch to draw Colgan near. “I'm really glad for Drew,” Smith said. “Of all the kids on the team, they've worked hard but nobody's worked as hard as Drew has. From the time football ended last year to right now, he's really worked hard to have a good senior year. He runs back a punt for a touchdown, he catches a touchdown pass, he intercepts the ball in the end zone which was a big stopper and we go down and score after that so I'm glad for him. I'm just proud of all the kids, they all played hard and Galena's a good team. Hopefully, we can rebound next week and win.” The Bulldogs, with momentum beginning to swing against them, came through with three huge plays on their scoring drive — a 15-yard completion from Cook to Cockerel on a third-and-12, a Johnson 35-yard run and a Helton 16-yard touchdown run on the next play as the Galena backs continued to hammer Colgan defenders and break multiple tackles for extra yards. Colgan stuffed Galena on the conversion run, however, and the Panthers trailed 22-14 with 3:29 remaining. A bad pitch and two incomplete passes led to a fourth-and-14 near midfield for the Panthers with the game on the precipice. The Marquardt pass fell short of its destination and two Bulldog defenders knocked it down, turnover-on-downs. Galena closed out the clock and the scoring with another series of Helton and Johnson runs, culminating in a Helton 5-yard run and two-point conversion for the final 30-14 score. Colgan, on a two-game losing streak after five opening wins, faces Riverton next week on the road and Smith talked about the challenges ahead the final two weeks of the regular season. “The kids know that our back's against the wall right now,” Smith said. “We have to win the next two and I think Southeast and Riverton, Riverton's who we have next week, are two good football teams so we'll just come out and get ready for them. I thought Coach Cichon's (defensive coordinator Wayne Cichon) defense, he had a good gameplan (against Galena), I thought we played well and we have to do that again to stop a good Riverton team. The kids know they have to win the next two ballgames and that's the way it should be. We're looking forward to it.” Galena improves to 6-1 on the season and takes on a Southeast team 4-3 overall and 1-0 in district after its 34-0 win Friday over Riverton. The Lancers have won three straight and four of their last five.