The Onamia Panthers 9-man football team was scheduled to play Cherry High School in the final game of the regular season on Nov. 12, but Cherry canceled leaving Onamia AD Jason Leonard scrambling to find an opponent. He found Hillcrest Lutheran of Fergus Falls to play on Nov. 13 in what would be just the third game of the abbreviated season for the Panthers.
Overall, the Panthers struggled in the first half but found themselves down just 22-16.
“The cold did not help us during the opening two periods,” said OHS head coach Austin Hackett. “We fumbled twice and were moving slowly on the cold field.”
But, Onamia’s offense scored 22 points in the second half and their defense held Hillcrest to just six points during the final 24 minutes to win, 38-28.
The Panthers generated a total of 358 yards of offense, including 174 through the air with two touchdowns and 184 on the ground with two TDs.
Nick Ecker led the game off with an 80-yard kick-off-return for a touchdown.
Quarterback, Noah Rohloff went 9-17 in passing, including two deep throws for touchdowns. Rohloff also had 49 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown.
AJ Drift had 79 receiving yards, including a 38-yard TD reception.
Ecker followed with 62 receiving yards and a 29-yard TD reception.
Donny Bieganek led the way on the ground with 109 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, the Panthers recorded two sacks – one by Trysten Benton and another by Bieganek. Brady Husom secured the Onamia win with an interception with 15 seconds remaining.
Summarizing Onamia’s second win of the season, against one loss, Hackett said, “They could not stop Donny, and our defense became a wall. The only points in the second half that Hillcrest scored were on a last-minute, kick-off return for a touchdown.”
Onamia may take part in post-season depending on the virus protocol at their school.
Onamia 8 8 6 16 38
Hillcrest 14 8 0 6 28