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Football uses big plays to top Kalamazoo

Photo courtesy of Dana Fitch
Photo courtesy of Dana Fitch

GREENVILLE, Ill. - The football team passed an early season test with flying colors when they avenged a loss from the 2018 season with a convincing 31-17 victory over Kalamazoo at Francis Field on Saturday.

For the second straight week, Greenville received the opening kickoff and were stalled on their end of the field. After a 31 yard punt by Chandler Williams, De'Shon Wellington sacked the quarterback and forced a fumble that was recovered by Anthony Esquivel and returned 27 yards for a touchdown. After the extra point by Rafael Soares de Castro, Greenville held a 7-0 lead.

Greenville's defense stopped Kalamazoo in their tracks on the next possession, forcing a three and out. After a 11-play drive to the K01, Soares de Castro converted an 18 yard field goal to make the score 10-0.

Before the end of the quarter, Kalamazoo managed to tie the score at 10-10 with a field goal and touchdown.

Neither team scored in the second quarter until the Panthers created some magic on the last play of the half. Facing a 2nd-and-1 from the G43, Dalton Mitchell connected with Kyler Henson on a 51 yard pass, and Henson lateralled to Seth Logan who finished the last six yards for a TD. A PAT from Soares de Castro gave GU a 17-10 halftime advantage.

Midway through the third quarter, Greenville added points to the scoreboard on an unconventional play. Slot receiver Eric Kranh completed a 30 yard pass to Henson for a TD, and Greenville led 24-10 after Soares de Castro's PAT.

After stopping Kalamazoo at the G29 late in the third quarter, it only took Greenville five plays before Robert Regans caught a 57 yard pass from Mitchell for a touchdown, and Soares de Castro put the extra point through the uprights for a 31-10 advantage.

Kalamazoo scored once in the fourth quarter but ended two touchdowns short.

The Panthers ended the game with 271 yards of total offense, including 229 passing and 36 rushing yards.

Mitchell completed 15-of-24 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns.

Christian Moss paced the rushing attack with 12 carries for 40 yards.

Henson finished with four catches for 92 yards, and Regans caught four passes for 82 yards.

The Greenville defensive effort was led by Gavin Jordan with 15 tackles. Joshua Robinson produced 13 tackles, one tackle for a loss, an interception, and three pass break-ups.

The Panthers (1-1) head to Northwestern next Saturday for the first of two straight games in Minnesota.