HAMMOND, Wis. -- St. Croix Central football coach John Tackmann said the Panthers were just happy to be traveling to Amery for their delayed season-opener Friday night. Imagine how they felt on the ride home after their 56-14 win.
Gabe Siler carried the ball 13 times for 110 yards and three touchdowns and caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Taden Holzer, and Holzer tossed another 39-yard touchdown pass to Kelson Klin as the Panthers used a 28-point second quarter to break the game open.
Despite putting 17 first-time starters on the field and dealing with the distractions and protocols surrounding the coronavirus, Tackmann said it was a good start for the Panthers.
“In the grand scheme of the newness of the team and with everything we’ve been dealing with, we were happy with how things went,” he said. “It was a good starting point.”
AJ Holmgren added a short rushing touchdown as the Panthers ran for a total of 262 yards while Holzer completed 4-of-9 passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. Joel McGrane added a touchdown after he scooped up a fumble following a 39-yard punt return by Siler and carried it the final two yards into the end zone.
Defensively, Jayden Goodwin led the Panthers with nine tackles, including six solo, in his first start at strongside linebacker.
“He learned quickly and caught on, and we’re very happy with his performance as a first year player for us,” Tackmann said.
Carson Hinzman contributed eight total tackles and Jakob Quarne had a sack and tackle for loss while Mason Dado had an interception in addition to carrying the ball seven times for 58 yards.
Tackmann said it just felt good to be playing football again after all the uncertainty of the last few months.
“I was just happy that we got to play to be honest with you,” he said. “Back in July and August, I didn’t even know if we’d get a chance to step on the field with the way things were going. And I told the kids that even this Friday is not guaranteed, so we prepare and hope for the best. I told them before the game started, let’s just be happy we’re here, let’s just be happy in the moment and take advantage of every game that we get this year, because you never know what’s going to happen considering the current situation.”
The Panthers will prepare to host Baldwin-Woodville for homecoming 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, and Tackmann said even though the night will lack the usual crowd and pageantry of a normal homecoming, the players will be happy to be on their home field.
“I don’t think it makes a difference in the kids’ motivation or the way they play,” he said. “They’re just happy to be out there. They just want to play.”