Williams, Panthers slam Cougars

EBEN – Junior quarterback Kayne Williams carried a big load for the Ewen-Trout Creek Panthers Saturday as they handed the Superior Central Cougars a 42-18 eight-man football loss.

Williams ran 41 times for 230 yards and four touchdowns and completed his lone pass for a 40-yard TD to senior Zach Leskala on the final play of the first half.

The victory, E-TC’s first over the Cougars, enabled the Panthers to finish with a two-game winning streak. They ended 3-6 overall and 1-6 in the Bridge Alliance Conference.

“This is a nice win for our program,” said E-TC coach Larry Maki. “We were led by sophomores all season. I think we have a lot to look forward to. We’ve got to take this as a big step forward.”

The Panthers grabbed the lead on the first play from scrimmage when Williams dashed 52 yards on a keeper.

He scored again on a keeper, this time for 16 yards and a 14-0 lead midway through the opening frame on this chilly, windy and blustery afternoon in western Alger County.

The Cougars (2-6 overall, 1-6 league) got on the board with 2:25 left in the first quarter on sophomore Phil Pasanen’s 12-yard run through the middle, set up on a blocked punt by senior Tucker Spranger on the previous play.

E-TC, however, had a response early in the second stanza with Williams scoring up the middle from six yards and a 22-6 cushion.

Junior QB Dayne Nelson trimmed the Cougars’ deficit to 22-12 on a 21-yard keeper to the right midway through the second.

Just 19 seconds later, however, sophomore Cyle Wascher broke left on a 60-yard dash and a 28-12 Panther lead.

E-TC then scored twice in the final 16.2 seconds before halftime, with Williams breaking through the middle on a 23-yard run and tossing his scoring pass to Leskala and a 42-12 advantage. The latter TD in that sequence was set up on a fumble recovery by senior Mike Boro.

“Kayne had a big day,” said Maki. “He was running hard. Our linemen were blocking and our offense was moving the ball. It’s always nice when you have ball control. We played well in the first half today.”

The Cougars finished the scoring nearly halfway through the fourth when junior lineman Tristen Thorson blocked a punt and Nelson scooped up the ball and scrambled four yards into the endzone.

“We seemed to be a second-half team all year and again today we played better in the second half,” said Cougars’ coach Chris Messano. “Ewen-Trout Creek played hard. They were able to score off our turnovers and we didn’t score off theirs. We made some adjustments at halftime and were more stingy on defense in the second half.”

E-TC finished with 384 yards in total offense.

The Cougars had 213, including 138 on the ground. Pasanen rushed 18 times for 61 yards. Nelson had 20 carries for 56 and completed 6-of-17 passes for 75.

“We’re losing six more kids through graduation,” said Messano. “We need to get more kids interested in playing football. When you don’t have depth, it’s easier for opposing teams to find mis-matches. One good thing is we kept everyone healthy. We have some good, young talent coming back.”