St. Croix Central dominates Prescott 35-3 | Newsletter

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With big plays provided by offense and a closed defense, the St. Croix Central football team improved to 4-1 for the season with a 38-3 win over Prescott on Friday night.

The win puts Central in a tie for second in the Middle Border Conference standings. The Panthers, Rice Lake and Baldwin-Woodville are all 2-1. Ellsworth is atop the standings at 3-0.

Prescott scored the first goal of Friday’s game, hitting a 22-yard field goal. The Panthers responded with two long plays that generated the game’s first touchdown. Sophomore Noah Nusbaum started at quarterback after Caden Wester was injured late in the previous game against Osceola. Nusbaum scored the first touchdown on a 44-yard run.

Center coach John Tackmann said Wester stayed involved, supporting Nusbaum and being involved in some of the attacking play calls with things he noticed from the touchline.

The Panthers locked up the game with two touchdowns in the final three minutes of the first half. The first came on a 53-yard run by tailback Sam Fischer. Fischer then provided one of the game’s key defensive plays, intercepting a pass and returning it to Central 43. Fischer said he read Prescott’s quarterback’s eyes on the play, pausing to cut in front of the receiver when the ball has been thrown.

Central quickly moved the ball upfield, relying on his best pass of the game. Mason Sullivan made a difficult over the shoulder grab on a pass from Nusbaum. The play covered 54 yards and set up Fischer’s four-yard touchdown that extended Central’s lead to 21-3.

Central scored once in the third quarter. A 53-yard run from Fischer opened the scoring for fullback AJ Holmgren.

Fischer had to be helped off the field after the long run. He said he suffered cramps in both legs when he was tackled at the end of that run. Fischer finished the game with 147 yards on 16 carries. The Panthers went from gun formation two weeks ago to having the quarterback under center. Fischer said he prefers this formation because it gets him closer to the line. When the Panthers are in Formation I, Holmgren serves as the primary blocker from fullback.

Fischer said his goal for the season was “to try to be one of the best running backs in the conference.”

The Panthers scored once in the fourth quarter when reserve quarterback Owen Herink holeshot for a 32-yard touchdown run.

Nusbaum had 124 yards in Friday’s game. Nusbaum’s move to quarterback caused a domino effect of roster changes. He had started at the tight end, so defensive end Rhett Schweitzer added the tight end role. Nusbaum was the Panthers’ varsity junior quarterback last year, so he has experience in that role. Devin Wasley was also injured, so Herink was moved to his outside linebacker role.

The Panthers will play at home again this Friday, when they host Somerset.

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