The Litchfield seniors would hit Lloyd Hill Field for the last time of their career on Friday night, Oct. 15, when they welcomed the Vandalia Vandals. The one loss Vandals would not allow the Purple Panthers to gain any momentum as they put 21 points on the board in the opening quarter. The quick striking Vandals would prevent the Panthers from gaining win one of the season as Vandalia defeated Litchfield 49-6.
As Litchfield honored their seniors’ career as Panthers football players, the skies would not ease up from dumping water on the gridiron. The continuous rain throughout the day would bring some difficulties, including slippery field conditions and wet footballs.
The rain would cause a few more fumbles than normal throughout the contest; in one instance it would be a positive for the Panthers.
With 3:15 remaining in the contest the Panthers would get their first points on the board after a productive offensive drive. The drive ended in a touchdown when senior Drew Hartzell jumped on a loose football in the end zone. The late touchdown by the Panthers would make the score 49-6.
The wet conditions would not dampen the high powered Vandalia offense. Averaging 38 points a game, the Vandals would surpass their average in this contest. In the opening quarter the Vandals piled on 21 points that would be topped off by a 25-yard touchdown run from Matthew Hagy.
Hagy’s late first quarter touchdown would make the score 20-0, with the extra point from Kanon Wollerman tacking on one more.
The three first quarter touchdowns by Vandalia would put Litchfield in a hole early in the contest. Vandalia would not make it any easier in the second quarter when they added their fourth touchdown of the contest 59 seconds into the quarter. Hagy would connect on a 41 yard touchdown pass to Carson Ruot and the successful extra point would make the score 28-0.
Several positive offensive plays throughout the second quarter by Litchfield would allow their defense to stay on the sideline a little longer, giving them much needed break.
The Vandals’ offense would strike again with 3:26 left to play in the opening half when Hagy would connect with Ruot again, this time from 16 yards out to give Vandalia a 35-0 lead.
Two minutes later Hagy would find Ruot for another touchdown connection. This touchdown would come from 32 yards out and on a fourth down play.
After Litchfield kept the Vandals off the board for nearly eight minutes, Vandalia would put three touchdowns on the board in 2:19 seconds. The third touchdown would come from the Vandals defense when they picked up a loose football and scampered into the end zone from 10 yards out. The defense touchdown would give the Vandals a 49-0 lead.
The Vandalia advantage would hold in the remaining minutes of the first half as the Vandals would enter halftime with the commanding lead.
In the second half the clock would run continuously as the Vandals would hold a 40-plus point lead. The running clock would make a quick second half but Litchfield would put together a fight in the second half.
The effort by the Panthers would end in a positive result as Hartzell would recover the Panthers’ fumble, in the end zone, late in the fourth quarter. The Panthers touchdown would prevent the Panthers from being shut out for the fourth time this year.
The 49-6 loss would drop Litchfield to 0-8 on the year and 0-7 in the South Central Conference while Vandalia moved to 7-1 overall and 6-1 in the South Central Conference. Even though the result would not be in favor of the Panthers, Litchfield’s seniors would leave some positives on Lloyd Hill Field.
When looking to change a program around it includes some bumps and bruises and some leadership from a solid group of seniors. Hopefully in a few years the Litchfield faithful can look back and say this was the group that helped lead the Panthers’ football program turnaround.
Litchfield will have one last chance to claim a win in 2021 next week when they travel east on Route 16 to battle Montgomery County rivals Hillsboro.
October 15 at Litchfield
Vandalia (7-1) 21 28 0 0 49
Litchfield (0-8) 0 0 0 6 6
1st - 8:21 - (V) - Matthew Hagy 26-yard TD run (Kanon Wollerman kick)
1st - 4:29 - (V) - Matthew Hagy 13-yard TD pass to Carson Ruot (Kanon Wollerman kick)
1st - 1:29 - (V) - Matthew Hagy 25-yard TD run (Kanon Wollerman kick)
2nd - 11:01 - (V) - Matthew Hagy 39-yard TD pass to Carson Ruot (Kanon Wollerman kick)
2nd - 3:26 - (V) Matthew Hagy 16-yard TD pass to Carson Ruot (Kanon Wollerman kick)
2nd - 1:25 - (V) Matthew Hagy 32-yard TD pass to Carson Ruot (Kanon Wollerman kick)
2nd - 1:07 - (V) - Ryan Kaiser 13-yard fumble return (Kanon Wollerman kick)
4th - 3:15 - (L) - Drew Hartzell (2pt. conversion failed)
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