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Football falls to Wartburg in season opener

Football falls to Wartburg in season opener

GREENVILLE, Ill. - The football team kicked off their 2019 season with a 60-21 loss to Wartburg at Francis Field on Saturday.

After receiving the opening kickoff, the Panthers went three and out on their first possession, and a 36 yard punt by Anthony Esquivel was downed at Wartburg's 37 yard line.

On Wartburg's first play of the game, linebacker Gavin Jordan forced a fumble that was recovered by Kenneth Young to give the Panthers a first and ten from the W38.

Later, when facing fourth and six from the W34, a pass interference call against Wartburg took the ball to the W19. After an incomplete pass and six yard run by Christian Moss, a false start on Greenville set up a third and nine from the W18. George Harris completed an 18 yard touchdown pass to Eric Kranh, and Rafael Soares de Castro converted the extra point to put Greenville ahead 7-0.

On Wartburg's ensuing possession, a quarterback sack by De'Shon Wellington resulted in a fumble that was recovered by Jordan and returned 44 yards for another touchdown. Soares de Castro made another PAT to increase the Panther lead to 14-0.

Wartburg responded to the Panther start by scoring the remaining 20 points of the quarter to hold a 20-14 advantage after one period.

In the second quarter, Wartburg made the score 26-14, but the Panthers responded immediately with a drive that resulted in a 22 yard touchdown reception by Kyler Henson on a pass from Harris. After the PAT from Soares de Castro, Greenville trailed by five, 26-21.

Wartburg scored again before the end of the first half and carried a 33-21 lead into the locker room.

The Knights managed to put 27 unanswered points on the scoreboard in the third quarter, and both teams were held scoreless in the fourth quarter.

Harris ended as the leading passer in the game with 141 yards on 9-of-18 completions and two touchdowns.

Christian Moss completed the game as Greenville's top rusher with nine carries for 21 yards.

Kranh and Henson each surpassed 80 receiving yards. Kranh had three catches for 88 yards and one touchdown while Henson caught five passes for 82 yards and a touchdown.

Joshua Robinson paced the Panther defensive effort with a hand in 12 tackles. Lakari Benjamin and Wellington each had one quarterback sack.

The Panthers (0-1) host Kalamazoo at 1 p.m. next Saturday, Sept. 14, at Francis Field.