DULUTH, MN --- In consecutive weeks the Greenville College Panthers (3-3, 2-0) held a conference opponent to one touchdown as they beat the St. Scholastica Saints (3-3, 2-2) 35-7.
This was by far the best all around performance by the Panthers this season. Both sides of the ball were consistently excellent in their handling of the Saints. The Panther defense filled up the box score on Saturday; 2 interceptions, 7 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, 7 pass break ups, and 1 fumble recovery. They also held the Saints to 132 total yards allowing only 9 yards rushing.
The two stars on defense were senior cornerback James Binder (Stockton, CA) and freshman defensive lineman Morris Hobson (Cahokia, IL). Binder had two interceptions to go along with his 3 tackles and 1 pass breakup. Hobson led the team with 2 sacks and 4 tackles for loss.
Offensively the Panthers stuck to their games plan which was simply, “Give it to Ambers.” The senior running back Anthony Ambers (Apple Valley, CA) rushed for a eye-popping 221 yards on 28 carries. Ambers also led the way with 4 touchdowns bringing his season total to 11. Freshman running back Justin Honeycutt (Wabash, IN ) had his first touchdown of the year breaking off a 71 yard run.
The Saints were led by sophomore defensive lineman Christopher Doran who led the team with 9 tackles and 1 tackle for loss. The lone score was thrown by backup quarterback freshman Cole Houston. He connected on a 21 yard pass to sophomore receiver Tyler Olson in the final seconds of the game.
Much like the game last week this was an uneventful first quarter. The Saints did not have a first down even though quarter back Alex Thiry was 3-3 passing. The Panther offensive looked good early but mental mistakes killed promising drives.
The second quarter was continued dominance from the Panther defense forcing the Saints to punt from their own end zone early in the quarter. This led to a 26 yard missed field goal by freshman Luis Diaz (Santa Anna, CA). It was only his fourth missed FG this season and his first under 30 yards.
After another three and out by the Saints the Panthers finally broke though. A 43 yard 7 play drive ended with a 2 yard touchdown run by Ambers.
The Panthers could not capitalize on the Binder interception late in the second quarter and at the half Greenville held a 7-0 lead.
The third quarter started with another three and out by the Saints giving the Panthers great field possession. Two plays later Ambers scored his second touchdown of the day and Greenville was up 14-0. Binder’s second interception led to a touchdown drive capped off by a 1 yard touchdown run by Ambers.
After another St. Scholastica punt Greenville began their drive on their own 24 yard line. The third play of the drive had Ambers break loose for a 67 yard touchdown run.
The fourth quarter started with the Panthers firmly in control of the game.
The Saints finally put together a long drive but came up short after 16 plays and 68 yards. The next possession by the Panthers gave fans a look at the future when Honneycutt scored on a 71 yard run making the score 35-0.
The lone mistake by the Greenville defense came with 1:33 left in the game. That’s when a blown coverage allowed the Saints to score on a 21 yard touchdown pass.
The Panthers ended the game in a victory formation taking another step towards a second UMAC Championship.
Next week is homecoming for the Greenville College Panthers as they host MacMurray College (0-5, 0-2 UMAC). Kickoff is 1PM CST at Francis Field in Greenville, IL.