Panthers fall to West Jeff


Fairbanks’ Riordin Stauffer (24) picks up yardage in this file photo. The Panthers ended the season with a loss at West Jefferson on Friday. (Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)

The Fairbanks Panthers put up some impressive numbers at West Jefferson on Friday.
The most important tallies, however, went to the Roughriders during a 52-38 victory.
The setback ended FHS’ season with a 6-4 record.
An early, unofficial computer tally for Region 24 of Division VI late last night had Fairbanks in ninth place.
The top eight teams in each region when the final official ratings are released on Sunday earn post-season berths.
The teams traded scores during the opening quarter.
West Jefferson took a 6-0 lead when Gavin Frybarger ran the ball in from 21 yards out. The extra point failed.
The Panthers took the lead approximately two minutes later on a two-yard burst from QB Braxton Wilhelm and Cade Ziegler’s extra point.
West Jefferson didn’t stay down for long.
With 3:33 left in the period, Tyler Buescher rifled a 30-yard scoring strike to Kyle Scott.
The two-point conversion failed to hit the mark, but West Jeff had regained a 12-7 margin.
Ziegler then pulled the Panthers to within 12-10 with a 33-yard field goal. That kick crossed the uprights with 44 seconds on the timer.
Ziegler’s powerful foot was on display once again very early in the second period.
He blasted a 37-yard field goal that gave the Panthers a 13-12 edge.
Buescher went to the air to reclaim the lead for the Roughriders.
His 65-yard bomb to Tyler Oberle pushed the Riders back out to an 18-13 lead.
The two-point conversion attempt once again failed.
Fairbanks took its final lead of the night with eight minutes remaining until halftime.
Gatlin Luke found a seam in the West Jeff defense and sped 11 yards into the end zone.
Ziegler’s conversion put FHS up by a 20-18 count.
The Roughriders regained the upper hand with 29 seconds left until the turn.
Gabe Jones, who rushed for 245 yards on the night, went into the end zone from the six-yard-line.
Buescher’s two-point conversion pass found Oberle across the goal line as West Jefferson carried a 26-20 lead into the break.
The Roughriders began to put some distance between themselves and the Panthers during the second half.
The only score of the third quarter came with 3:42 to play when Buescher threw a 30-yard TD pass to M.J. Book.
The two-point try failed, but the Riders took a 32-20 spread into the final 12 minutes of action.
West Jefferson more than doubled the score on Fairbanks (44-20) when Buescher connected on scoring strikes of 19 and 69 yards respectively to Oberle and Scott.
The Panthers, however, kept up the battle.
They benefitted from a 57-yard TD run by Riordin Stauffer and a fumble recovery for a score by Braylon Green.
Fairbanks attempted two-point conversion tries after both touchdowns.
Neither was successful as the Panthers trailed 44-32.
The Roughriders finally slammed the door on Fairbanks with touchdown runs by Jones (72 yards) and Frybarger (35 yards).
Mason Cordetti booted extra points after both touchdowns.
“The guys played hard and we had to overcome the adversity of some injuries to Braxton and Tanner Ufferman,” said FHS coach Patrick Cotter. “Ethan Kise played quarterback for a quarter-and-a-half and did a nice job of directing the offense.
“West Jefferson scored on a few long plays, but overall, I thought our defense played well.”

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