The first play from scrimmage was the only thing that went wrong for the St. Croix Central football team on Friday.
Otherwise, the Panthers were dominant in defeating Prescott, 57-6. Central finished the regular season with a 7-2 record, including a 5-2 mark in the Middle Border Conference. Central finished tied with Osceola, with New Richmond and Baldwin-Woodville sharing the conference championship with 6-1 records.
Friday’s game opened with Prescott scoring on an 80-yard run on the first play from scrimmage. Central coach John Tackmann said the play was an isolated mistake where one player missed an assignment and wasn’t reason for concern. The players weren’t concerned. They took care of business swiftly and precisely, scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter and three more in the third quarter to lead 35-6 at halftime.
Tackmann said the players did well at working through the distractions of the night, with it including Senior Night, the Cancer Drive, and the possibility of it being the final home game in the career of the seniors.
One goal of the game was to get the Panthers sharpened in every aspect of the game. The Panthers will begin WIAA Division 4 playoff action next Friday. To that end, six different players got four or more carries on offense as the coaches worked through their playbook to make sure everything was ready. The coaches also called several passes, mainly to the running backs. Tackmann said that’s an aspect the offense the coaches want ready for the playoffs.
Running backs Gabe Siler and Trevor Kopacz got the majority of the touches. Siler carried the ball 10 times for 80 yards and two touchdowns and he also registered one catch on a bootleg. “It was an amazing catch,” Tackmann said.
Kopacz carried the ball eight times for 78 yards and he caught two passes. Both of his receptions went for touchdowns, as did one of his running plays. One of his receptions came on a long-pass in the two-minute offense at the first half, another aspect the coaches want to hone in this game.
Fullback Mason Dado had four carries in the game, but two of them went four touchdowns. The Panthers finished with 240 yards rushing in the game.
Defensively, Tackmann said the play of Josh Bair at noseguard has been a revelation for the team.
“He really grew as an offensive lineman, so we moved him to the defensive line in the middle of the year,” Tackmann said, saying Bair has flourished in playing on both sides of the ball.