Birds Spoil Panther Homecoming


Following a week of homecoming activities, the Litchfield Purple Panthers would put a wrap to the exciting week as they returned to Lloyd Hill Field. The Southwestern Piasa Birds would not be gracious visitors as they would dampen the Litchfield homecoming spirit with a 55-0 victory. 

After a week off due to COVID protocol, the Panthers would struggle getting things in motion throughout the contest. Litchfield, who passed 200 total yards of offense in their season debut, would struggle moving the football against the Piasa Birds as they would only net 54 total yards of offense. 

On the other side of the ball, the Piasa Birds, coming off a big win versus Trenton-Wesclin in week two, would put together 55 points, but would only surpass over 350 total yards of offense. 

The lack of offense numbers but high point total would come from the outstanding field position the Piasa Birds would have throughout the contest.

Southwestern would only have to start on their side of the field three times out of nine possessions as they would start on an average on the Panthers’ 48-yard line. With that field position not, many yards would be needed to put points on the board. 

While Southwestern would earn great field position, the Panthers would start on an average on their own 25. 

After a three and out to start the contest by the Panthers, Southwestern would begin their first possession on Litchfield’s 38-yard line. A few plays later Southwestern would put the first points on the board when Jacob Fisher scampered 28 yards to the end zone. Collin Robinson would add the extra points giving the Piasa Birds a 7-0 lead with 8:39 to play in the opening quarter. 

Just over five minutes later the Piasa Birds would strike again, this time through the air. Southwestern’s quarterback Quinten Strohbeck would connect on a 45-yard touchdown pass to Gavin Day. The extra point would be missed as Southwestern would now hold a 13-0 lead with just over three minutes to play in the first quarter. 

Southwestern would put more points on the board just over a minute later and this time it would come from their defense. A miscue by the Panthers’ offense would result in a safety as Southwestern would now hold a 15-0 lead. 

The Piasa Birds would not be done with scoring in the opening quarter as Strohbeck would complete his second pass of the game and his second passing touchdown of the game. The strike would go to Jacob Fisher for his second touchdown of the contest, as he hauled in the 44-yard touchdown pass. 

Southwestern would pile on 21 first quarter points that would all be collected in six minutes and 11 seconds. 

Leading by three touchdowns Southwestern would collect more points in the second quarter. With 9:29 left to play in the half, Blake Funk would complete a two-play series to give the Piasa Birds a 28-0 lead in the second quarter. Funk would get both carries in the series as he would take the ball from Litchfield’s 46 to the Panthers six-yard line and would then cap off the series with a six-yard touchdown. 

Southwestern would get six more points on the board before the half would expire. Gavin Day would get his first touchdown of the game as he drove into the end zone from five yards out. The touchdown would give Southwestern a 34-0 lead at the half. 

Litchfield would have some positive spots in the first half as Drew Hartzell would collect 12 yards on the ground off of four carries and would also collect 19 of the 32 receiving yards in the first half. On the defensive side of the ball Blake Balestri, Keaton Case and Owen Baugher would help lead the Panthers. 

On the opening series of the second half the Piasa Birds would start on their side of the field for only the second time in the contest. Southwestern would take the opening play of the second half and put the ball in the end zone. 

It would be Gavin Day’s second touchdown of the contest as he ran 55 yards to paydirt giving Southwestern a 41-0 lead. The early touchdown would mean an early night for the fans as the clock would now continue run due to Southwestern holding a 40 plus point lead. 

Just over a minute later, Lane Gage would give Southwestern a 48-0 lead as he ran 22 yards to the end zone. 

Again, it would be great field position for Southwestern as they would start on Litchfield’s 26-yard line after picking up a Litchfield fumble on the kickoff. Southwestern would add seven more points in the fourth quarter when Gage dashed 26 yards to give the Piasa Birds a 55-0 lead. 

Even though the Panthers could not get anything to click throughout the contest they would never give up and would continue to fight throughout the game. 

With a running clock the Panthers would run seven plays in the second half, collecting 23 yards on those plays. Allowing the Piasa Birds to start on Litchfield’s side of the field for a majority of their series would put the Panthers on their heels. 

Litchfield would also help the Piasa Birds out as they would commit over 10 penalties netting 70-plus yards. The Panthers will look to turn things around next Friday, Sept. 17, when they venture outside of the South Central Conference, but the journey would not be far. Even though it will be unfamiliar territory on the gridiron, Litchfield will stay in Montgomery County as they travel to Nokomis. 

 Sept. 10 at Litchfield

S’western (3-0) 21 13 14 7 55

Litchfield (0-3) 0 0 0 0 0 

Scoring Summary

1st - 8:39 - (SW) - Jacob Fisher 28-yard TD run Collin Robinson (kick good) 

1st - 3:30 - (SW) - Gavin Day 45-yard TD reception from Quinten Strohbeck (extra point failed) 

1st - 2:19 - (SW) - Safety

1st - 1:28 - (SW) - Jacob Fisher 44-yard TD reception from Quinten Strohbeck (extra point failed) 

2nd - 9:29 - (SW) - Blake Funk 6-yard TD run Collin Robinson (kick good) 

2nd - 1:32 - (SW) - Gavin Day 5-yard TD run (extra point failed) 

3rd - 11:38 - (SW) - Gavin Day 55-yard TD run Collin Robinson (kick good) 

3rd - 10:10 - (SW) - Lane Gage 22-yard TD Run Collin Robinson (kick good) 0-48 

4th - 11:51 - (SW) - Lane Gage 26-yard TD Run Collin Robinson (kick good) 

Litchfield Statistics (31-54) 

Passing (5-16-27): Tate Dobirnich 5-16-21.

Rushing (15-27): Drew Hartzell 7-28, Martavious Jones 1-4, Tate Dobrinich 2-3, AJ Sypherd 2-1, Jake Cunningham 3-(-9).

Receivng (5-27): Drew Hartzell 3-14, Keenan Powell 1-9, Martavious Jones 1-4.

Gillespie Statistics (37-378) 

Passing (4-4-104): Quinten Strohbeck 4-4-104.

Rushing (20-219): Gavin Day 11-90, Lane Gage 6-73, Blake Funk 5-60, Jacob Fisher 5-41, Marcus Payne 5-11, Quinten Strohbeck 1- (-1).

Receiving (4-104): Gavin Day 1-45, Jacob Fisher 1-44, Charlie Darr 2-15.


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