By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News
The Mt. Pleasant football team ended the 2017 season with a bang on Friday night.
The Panthers plastered Keokuk 49-13 in their final regular season game to end the season with six wins.
Mt. Pleasant dominated from start to finish, but especially in the first quarter. The Panther defense completely shut down Keokuk and the offense scored four touchdowns in the period.
Levi Puig led the offensive attack in the early minutes. He scored the first three touchdowns of the game. Puig had a two-yard TD run and a one-yard TD run in the first five minutes, and then added a 41-yard scamper to the end zone with 2:29 showing in the quarter.
Zach Beason hit Chase Lamm on an eight-yard touchdown pass before the first quarter was up, and the Panthers held a commanding 27-0 lead.
?We used Levi as the blocker most of the season, but against Keokuk we saw that we could use him in a different role,? said head coach Shawn Striegel about his junior back. ?I am happy that he was able to accept that new role and have such a big game, he deserved it. Levi will be a big part of our offense next year.?
The Mt. Pleasant defense came up with the biggest play of the night in the second quarter. Keokuk?s Antonio Smith coughed up the ball after a six-yard run and James DeMeyer scooped it up and took it 32-yards back to the house for a defensive score, making it 34-0.
Mt. Pleasant stretched the lead to 40-0 on a Jordan Magnani touchdown catch later in the period. The Chiefs cut it to 40-6 before halftime but Mt. Pleasant was still fully in control at the break.
The Panthers only scored one touchdown in the second half, but it was a play to remember for a couple of Panther seniors. Kieran Kohorst caught the ball and had a 44-yard reception to the four-yard line, but got held up by a Chief defender. Kohorst lateraled the ball to Magnani, who jogged into the end zone for the score. MPCHS also had two points on a Chiefs safety.
Keokuk scored once more but the Panthers still walked out with the 49-13 victory and ended the year on a high note at 6-3 overall.
Beason finished the game 15-21 for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Lamm had 82 yards and one touchdown receiving. Kohorst finished with 80 yards and Magnani finished with 33 total yards and two scores. Puig, Maison Ashton and Rylan Seberg all caught passes in the win as well.
Puig went for 69 yards and three scorers on the ground. Keegan Rich was Mt. Pleasant?s second leading rusher with 37 yards.
Colby Potts lead the Panther defense with 5.5 tackles. Abe Wilson was second on the team with 4.5 tackles of his own.
DeMeyer had two fumble recoveries and one fumble return touchdown. Tate Shull had an interception as well to give MPCHS three takeaways on the day.
Along with the 6-3 season overall, the Panthers went 4-3 in the district and finished the year winning four of their last five games. Mt. Pleasant?s only three losses of the year came to eventual playoff teams.
Coach Striegel says he?s excited for the future of Mt. Pleasant football and that the up-and-coming classes have a lot of potential.
?We have great kids who understand the team concept and care about each other,? Streigel says. ?Our potential relies on our work ethic from this moment forward. Our athletes need to be out for other sports and activities, and need to be in the weight room, working harder thann ever (and) if our team does those things, we?ll hit the ground running next year.?