On Litchfield's first play of the season, senior quarterback Clayton Walch busted through the line for a four-yard gain. While the Panthers would eventually turn the ball over, leading to a Greenville touchdown, the gain was the first of many steps in the right direction for Litchfield on Friday night.
A year after a tumultuous 2018 campaign that saw them go 0-9 and be outscored 478 to 16, Litchfield came out and held their own with the Comets, who were picked as one of the favorites in this year's conference title race.
Unlike last year's 63-8 shellacking, the Comets were held to one score in three of the four quarters and had their first string in for a good portion of the game, which ended with Greenville on top 37-0.
The Comets led 7-0 after a 35-yard touchdown catch by Isaac Green from Wil Harnetiaux, but Litchfield forced a fumble after another long pass play to stop another Comet drive in the opening quarter.
The Panthers would turn the ball over on downs in their next series, but Austin Niehaus snagged an interception to give Litchfield their second turnover of the game.
Greenville put up most of their points in the second quarter, scoring 21 straight to take a 28-0 lead into halftime. Green and Harnetiaux would connect twice more on ten-yard strikes, including an acrobatic diving catch in the endzone by the Comet wide receiver.
Logan Doll would collect the first of his two scores in between those two touchdowns, running it in from one yard out.
With a steady rain coming down, the Panthers tried to come back in the second half, but weren't able to get anything going on offense.
Doll would score again in the third quarter on an 18-yard run and would finish with 149 yards rushing for the game. Sophomore Cazdin Weber would also have 127 yards for the Comets on the ground.
The Panther defense would keep the Comets out of the endzone after that though, with a safety the only points to be put on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter.
Dylan Maxwell had a big game on the defensive side of the ball for Litchfield, recording 15 tackles, including three that went for a loss. Josh Adams and John Corso also had seven tackles apiece.
Offensively, Walch was 1-for-9 passing with a four-yard reception to Charlie Rayphole, but did a lot of damage with his feet. The senior quarterback rushed 19 times for 78 yards, despite a few bad snaps that resulted in lost yardage.
Litchfield will look to continue to improve next week, when they take on the Gillespie Miners.
August 30 at Greenville
Litchfield 0 0 0 0 -0
Greenville 7 21 7 2 37
1st: Greenville - Isaac Green 35-yard pass from Wil Harnetiaux (kick good)
2nd: Greenville - Isaac Green 9-yard pass from Wil Harnetiaux (kick good)
2nd: Greenville - Logan Doll 1-yard run (2-pt. failed)
2nd: Greenville - Isaac Green 10-yard pass from Wil Harnetiaux (2-pt. run)
3rd: Greenville - Logan Doll 18-yard run (kick good)
4th: Greenville - Litchfield safety.
Passing: Clayton Walch 1-9-4.
Rushing: Clayton Walch 19-78; Drew Hartzell 8-(-2), Austin Niehaus 2-(-4), John Corso 2-(-8).
Receiving: Charlie Rayphole 1-4.
Defense (solo/assists): Dylan Maxwell 13/2; John Corso 6/1; Josh Adams 7/0; Hunter Nieman 6/0; Jefferson Thomas 5/0; Austin Niehaus 4/0, 1 INT; Clayton Walch 3/0; Caleb Jurgena 2/1; Austin DeWitt 2/0; Blake Balestri 2/0; Keaton Case 1/0.