Pella Christian played 45 minutes of good football last night, but Panorama made all of the big plays in the final three minutes and the Panthers knocked off the Eagles 30-25 in Pella.
“Football’s about making plays, and Panorama made every one they had to make down the stretch, said Pella Christian Assistant Coach Darryl De Ruiter after the game. “Everything seemed to go their way and hats off to them for getting it done. Certainly a disappointing loss for the Eagles tonight.”
The Eagles led 22-8 early on in the 4th quarter, and held a 25-14 advantage with just under three minutes left following a 37-yard field goal by Trey Hugen. After that, Panorama marched down the field for a score and a two-point conversion, recovered an onside kick, and put up eight quick points again in a span of less than two minutes, before icing the game with an interception of a Kyle Nikkel pass. De Ruiter said even with the loss, the team still has a lot to be proud of.
“This year was a great accomplishment for this team. We certainly had planned and hoped and wished and dreamed and prayed to go a lot further than we did in the playoffs; but the coaches will look back, the players will look back at this season, and they’ll remember the good things that happened,” said De Ruiter. “They’ll remember what a great season the 2009 PC Eagles football season was.”
Statistically, the Eagles’ final game of the season was about as even as they come. Both teams finished with 402 yards of total offense, with Panorama piling up 21 first downs to Pella Christian’s 19. Penalties were one statistic of the game that was not even. Pella Christian committed an uncharacteristic seven penalties that cost them a total of 72 yards, while Panorama was penalized three times for a total of 16 yards.
The Eagles tallied up the majority of their offense on the ground, with 280 total yards – led by Bret Nieuwsma’s 144 yards and a score on 29 carries. Pella Christian’s pass game also held its ground, as quarterback Kyle Nikkel completed 9 of 16 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown, but also had two interceptions. Trey Hugen was Nikkel’s preferred target, as he hauled in three catches for 60 yards.
Defensively, linebackers Alex Fynnardt and Bret Nieuwsma paced the Pella Christian defense with ten tackles apiece. Cornerback Sam Tvedt also snared an interception, and the Eagles’ defense recovered a Panorama fumble as well.
The 30-25 loss ended Pella Christian’s season at 7-3 overall. Panorama moves on to play Woodward-Granger in the first round of the Class 2-A State Football Playoffs.