Wow. This was not the start to the Middle Border Conference season that the St. Croix Central football team had anticipated.
On their home field, the Panthers were outplayed in every aspect of the game as Osceola came to Hammond and inflicted a 34-7 defeat on the Panthers. With the loss Central has a 1-2 overall record. Central has another tough assignment next Friday when the Panthers play at Prescott. On Friday, Prescott soundly defeated Somerset, 40-6.
Osceola used the quick-strike ability of the Sedivy brothers to pick apart Central’s pass defense in the first half. Osceola scored on a 40-yard pass with 4:25 elapsed in the game. The Chieftains had two receivers cross in the middle of the field and the traffic it caused opened Jacob Sedivy for the score.
The Panthers then put together their best drive of the night. But on the first play of the second quarter, the Panthers fumbled the ball away inside the Osceola 10-yard line. Osceola quickly moved down the field, scoring on a 42-yard pass to Lucas Sedivy.
Another big Central mistake set up Osceola’s third touchdown. A bad snap on a Central punt gave Osceola the ball at the Panther 27. Two plays later, Osceola scored on a 32-yard screen pass where the Panthers completely blew the coverage.
Things went from bad to worse for the Panthers on the opening play of the second half. Central coach John Tackmann said two Panthers left their lane assignments and that opened up an alley for Osceola to return the second half kickoff for a touchdown, extending the margin to 28-0.
The rest of the second half was played evenly, but for the Panthers, the damage was already done. The only Central points were registered with 3:05 remaining in the game when Logan Mahady broke away for a 47-yard touchdown run.
There were stretches where the Panthers did good things on offense. Halfback Eli Ponath put together several nice runs, but left the game with an injury. But maintaining a running game was difficult for the Panthers, because Osceola’s defensive front wall was an immovable object for Central’s blockers for large stretches of the night.
“Our offensive line just didn’t perform,” said Central coach John Tackmann. “They’ve got to dig deep and decide what they’re going to be.”
Tackmann said the blame for this loss is team-wide.
“We have some seniors we need to get more out of and we’ve got younger guys who need to step up. It’s their decision on how they want this season to turn out,” he said.