The Parkers Prairie football season came to an end on Tuesday night at the hands of the Section 4-1A's third-seed Lester Prairie.
The Panthers (1-4) went into the quarterfinal matchup as the sixth seed in the section tournament. The Bulldogs took care of business to knock off Parkers Prairie 22-14 and advance to the semifinal round.
"Lester Prairie is a strong team," Parkers Prairie head coach Mike Johnson said. "They run with a lot of double tight end formations and have a tough downhill running game. Along with their run game, they will also spread the defense out and throw the ball. They have some good receivers and have some talented backs that catch the ball well out of the backfield."
Along with the Bulldogs' talent on the offensive side of the ball, the defense is what stood out on Tuesday.
"Defensively, they are tough," Johnson said. "At one point in the season, they had 15 consecutive quarters without allowing an opponent to score."
Parkers Prairie missed out on two games in an already shortened season. Learning how to handle adversity was a learning experience for the Panthers this year.
"It sure has been a bizarre year," Johnson said. "Our guys did a great job of continually battling through adversity. We grew as a team by adjusting to changes and making the most of our opportunities. Gratitude is something all of these boys learned this year, and that will help them all grow as young men."
Johnson is hoping the hardships of the 2020 season will push his guys to be even stronger in 2021.
"We will have a young team next year," Johnson said. "These boys have learned that nothing is promised to them and learned to be thankful for the opportunities they get. I believe this will help motivate them to put in the hard work required to have a successful team next year."
Win or lose, the state of postseason football was put in jeopardy just hours before kickoff. Instead of worrying about what they can't control, the Panthers went out and played like it was their last game of the season. It's a mentality that teams became all too familiar with in the COVID-19 era.
"This year, I feel like every game had the feeling of it being our last," Johnson said. "With it being the playoffs tonight, we knew all we could control was tonight and whatever happens tomorrow will happen. All we can do is control the things we can and be thankful for the opportunities we've been given."
LESTER PRAIRIE 22, PARKERS PRAIRIE 14
PARKERS PRAIRIE- PASSING- Brendan Johnson was 8-16, 94 yards, 1 TD; Cohen Noska 2-3 with 13 yards; Jake Wagner was 1-2, 3 yards; RUSHING- James Grant 7 carries 29 yards; Cole Gesell 8 carries, 12 yards; John Oberg 7, carries 26 yards; Brendan Johnson 11 carries, 132 yards 1 TD; Cohen Noska 1 carry, 5 yards; RECEIVING- Brendan Johnson 2 receptions, 11 yards; Jake Wagner 2 receptions, 33 yards; Cole Gesell 2 receptions, 32 yards, TD; James Grant 5 receptions, 34 yards; DEFENSE- Jake Wagner 9 tackles, 8 assists, 1 TFL, 1 Sack; James Grant 5 tackles, 5 assists; Cole Gesell 6 tackles, 2 assists; Brendan Johnson 6 tackles, 2 assists; Bennet Arceneau 3 tackles, 2 assists; John Oberg 4 tackles, 2 assists ; Carter Hoppe 5 tackles, 2 assists; Joey Hoppe 2 tackles, 2 assists 1 TFL; Owen Hezlep 3 tackles, 1 assist; Michael Ahlers 5 tackles; Jesse LaManna 2 tackles