GALENA - Two formidable stalwarts kicked off the CNC League season last Thursday in Galena. Over the years, anytime the St. Mary’s-Colgan Panthers, of Pittsburg, and the Galena Bulldogs face each other in football the fans know the game will be tough fought. Usually, whoever gets that one break will probably come out on top.
After two momentum stopping Bulldog fumbles in the first half, and leading 8-0, Galena got the break needed at the start of the second half. Pinned at their two yard line, a Colgan fumble occurred and senior Bulldog Ethan Henson recovered the ball. Quarterback junior J.C. Shelton then sneaked up the middle from the one. After senior Michael Helton ran in for a two-point conversion, the Bulldogs had a cushion, and what was to be the final 16-0 score.
The Colgan turnover and the Galena recovery was huge. If the Panthers could have put together a series of drives the game could have been tied.
A long drive for Colgan might have been impossible as the Bulldogs defense smothered the Panthers all night. With a new Colgan coach, and a new difficult triple-option offense to learn, the Panthers were limited to 151 yards of offense.
"Our defense played fairly well," Galena Head Coach Beau Sarwinski said. "Defensive coach (Derek) Hunt had a great scheme."
What didn’t help was senior Panther quarterback Bryce Hutchins went down on the second play of the game on what was reported as a broken collarbone. Junior running back Cade Simmons in a tough situation took over, and was able to complete only one pass in the first half.
Galena scored their first touchdown at 3:44 in the first quarter. The Bulldogs started on their 18. Michael Helton went left to the 46. Later, inches short of a first down, Michael Helton went right to the Panthers 46.
Joseph Helton brought the Bulldogs to the 43. Shelton caught senior receiver Garrett Hall at the nine. Joseph Helton went to the three, then bulled his way into the end zone. Junior Kooper Lawson ran the two-point conversion.
Galena collected 313 yards of offense, with 205 rushing. Joseph Helton carried 23 times for 156 yards. Hall pulled down six catches for 108 yards on Shelton’s 6-12 passing.
"We needed that one under our belt," Coach Sarwinski said. "Our offense was solid with a few minor mistakes that we can correct. Anytime you get a win against Colgan, that’s good."
Frontenac, who defeated Girard last week 33-6, travels to Abbey Field in Galena this Friday. St-Mary’s-Colgan is again on the road, heading to Baxter Springs. The Lions are coming off a 40-13 win in Oswego.