Written and Media by Brian Ehresman[divide]
What started as a cool and rainy game, ended in a cold and gloomy result for the Greenville College Football team in their home opener on Saturday. The Panthers (0-2) fell to the Minnesota-Morris Cougars (1-1) 19-13 in the UMAC opener for both teams hosted by Greenville.
Flags and fumbles proved to be the difference in the game, as Greenville was unable to capitalize on junior running back Hamid Camara’s 105 yards on the ground. GC could not overcome an agonizing amount of penalties and untimely turnovers in the defeat. The Panthers were whistled for 14 penalties worth 155 yards, and suffered from five turnovers in a back and forth contest. “It’s about maximizing what’s inside of you,” Greenville Head Coach Robbie Schomaker said as he addressed his team. “It’s about playing to your full potential.”
Minnesota-Morris opened the scoring with the only three points of the first quarter on a field goal.
Greenville countered in the second quarter as sophomore quarterback Jacob Battaglia ran for a 45 yard touchdown to give the Panthers a 7-3 lead. Battaglia would later leave the game with an injury and was replaced at QB by Jacob Tibbetts. Minnesota-Morris got back on the board after blocking a punt into the endzone for a safety to cut the lead in half at 7-5. Morris regained the lead with a touchdown but failed while going for the 2-point conversion and took an 11-7 lead at the half.
The Panthers scored the lone touchdown of the third quarter on a short pass from Tibbetts to Samuel Northey to take back the lead at 13-11. The extra point attempt was blocked.
The score remained the same for the first 11 minutes of the fourth quarter, as the GC defense had Minnesota-Morris on their heels in a 4th and 11 situation with 3:30 left in the game. After a timeout, the Cougars executed a dagger to the hearts of the Greenville fans as Deaven Griffin caught a 43 yard touchdown pass for his second score of the game to give UMM a 19-13 lead after a successful 2-point conversion. Greenville was able to get inside the Cougar 30 yard line, but could not complete any last-second heroics with a couple heaves to the endzone.
Despite the loss, Greenville still dominated the ball for most of the game. The Panthers racked up 368 yards of total offense while only allowing Minnesota-Morris 120 yards. Along with Camara’s big day rushing, Senior Jacob Stull took advantage of his carries for 46 yards. Battaglia was 5-12 passing for 45 yards before getting injured, and Tibbetts came in to contribute 5-10 for 53 yards and a touchdown pass. Nick Morrow led the Greenville defense with seven tackles, while Kevin Tran intercepted two Minnesota-Morris passes.
There is still plenty of time to bounce back from the tough defeat for the Panthers. “Every week we’ve got to get better,” Coach Schomaker said. “We have two options from here. We can divide and fall off the cliff, or come back together, regroup, and refocus.”
The Panthers will look to get back on the winning track next Saturday as they travel to Iowa Wesleyan.