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Football: Royals strike early to hold off Parkers Prairie

The Parkers Prairie football team put itself in an early hole against a now 2-0 Royalton team on Friday night and couldn’t recover in a 32-20 loss for the Panthers (1-1).

The Royals took their opening drive 60 yards in eight plays and added the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead. The Panthers’ first possession ended in an interception. Royalton started on the Parkers Prairie 32-yard line and scored again in seven plays to make it 16-0 at the quarter break.

The Panthers tried to rally. Brendan Johnson hit senior Travis Yohnke for a 17-yard touchdown pass, but Royalton again responded with a 10-play scoring drive that made it 24-6 at the half.

“The Panthers played harder and better in the second half,” Parkers Prairie head coach John Sieling said. “The players showed a never-quit attitude as they cut the lead to 24-14 on a 12-yard TD pass from Johnson to Yohnke. The defense played more aggressive and did a better job stopping the Royals in that second half.”

Royalton totaled 200 yards in the first half before the Panthers limited them to 100 yards after the break. A 40-yard pass off of a reverse on third and long set up Royalton’s final touchdown and gave the Royals a 32-14 lead.

Johnson threw his third touchdown of the day, this time to Jayden Gylsen on an 11-yard completion in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late as Royalton held on for the win.

Parkers Prairie ran for just 44 yards on Friday night. That sent Johnson to the air where he threw 31 times, completing 17 passes for 217 yards and the three touchdowns. The Panthers were plus-four in the turnover margin in their week-one opening win against Wadena-Deer Creek, but were minus-three this week on three interceptions.

Yohnke had five catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Gylsen caught four balls and the score, and Spencer Yohnke added three catches for 44 yards.

“The defense settled down to play a good second half of football against a very potent Royal attack,” Sieling said. “Leading the defense in tackles were juniors Carter Rokes with 11, and Preston Yohnke and Zach Olson with 9.  The defense came up with 4 QB sacks from Travis Yohnke, Josh Helling, Rokes, and Casey Skinner.”

The Panthers will now look ahead to week three when they go on the road to face Kimball at 7 p.m. on Friday. The Cubs are 1-1 after a 34-0 win over Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in week two.

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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