PITTSBURG — St. Mary’s-Colgan high school football team’s new head coach Shawn Seematter recorded the first home victory of his career on Thursday with a 20-0 win over Frontenac.
Everything seemed to be going right for the Panthers, as they won the time-of-possession battle and kept the Raiders’ offense off the field for a majority of the contest by picking up first downs on the ground and capitalizing on scoring opportunities.
“It felt awesome to get the win,” Seematter said. “I’m very proud of our guys because they played really well. When two evenly-matched teams play each other, the one that makes the fewest mistakes typically ends up winning. Both teams made mistakes, but I felt like we made fewer and capitalized on theirs. It feels great to get the win this early in the season.”
For the Raiders, the frustration mounted throughout the contest, as penalties and turnovers killed quality drives.
“Colgan played extremely hard,” FHS head coach Mark Smith said. “They executed better than us and they ran the ball hard. We just committed too many penalties and had too many turnovers. Until we fix that, we’re not going be able to beat anybody. We have a lot of growing up to do and that starts with me. We just have to have better game plans, and hopefully, our guys will believe in each other more and come together.”
SMC picked up the initial first down of the contest halfway through the opening quarter on a seven-yard run by Cade Simmons, en route to taking a 7-0 lead.
The Panthers drove the ball 70 yards in 15 plays and chewed up seven minutes of game time, before finishing the drive with a 21-yard touchdown run by Simmons.
Things continued to go the Panthers’ way, as Conor Price jumped on a fumble in the following possession to give the Panthers the ball on their own 44-yard line with 11 minutes remaining in the first half.
Colgan continued to pound the ball on the ground and drove it down to the Raiders’ four yard line, before an interception in the end zone by Brant Chance gave the ball back to Frontenac.
The Raiders took over on their own two-yard line with two minutes remaining in the second quarter, but couldn’t go the length of the field before halftime.
SMC received the ball after the break and moved up to midfield before being forced to punt on fourth down.
A miscue on the snap resulted in the Raiders taking over on the Panthers’ 42-yard line, as the punter scooped up the ball and was quickly brought down by Andrew Mays.
The Raiders advanced the ball into the red zone on a 12-yard run from Jake Wilbert, but an interception by Max Wilson gave the Panthers the ball on their own 18-yard line with five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Frontenac stopped the Panthers short of a first down in the following possession and started a new drive on the SMC 42-yard line.
Colgan’s defense came up big again, as Jeremiah Buche intercepted a pass to put the Panthers at their own 22 yard-line in the final seconds of the third quarter.
SMC was forced to punt the ball away, but got it back on a fumble recovery during the return, as Evan Ward secured the loose ball to give the Panthers a fresh set of downs on their own 41-yard line in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.
Colgan kept the ball on the ground for a majority of the contest, but scored its second touchdown of the game through the air, going up 13-0 on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Simmons to Buche with four minutes remaining in regulation.
The Raiders attempted a pass on fourth down in the next possession to keep hope alive, but the it fell incomplete, giving the Panthers the ball on the FHS 41-yard line with three minutes remaining in the contest.
SMC sealed the victory on a 40-yard touchdown run by Simmons in the final minutes of the game.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.