Panther power pounds No. 2 Somerset 27-8
ELLSWORTH - No could remember the last time Somerset's High School football team was dominated so completely.
That's because it had been a long while.
No. 4 ranked Ellsworth handed No. 2 Somerset its worst Middle Border Conference defeat since a 26-0 blanking by Amery back in 2006 which also happens to be the last season the Panthers beat the Spartans. Ellsworth won its Homecoming game 27-8 Friday at Fuller-Symes Field.
Ellsworth held Somerset to just 209 yards of total offense while the Panthers amassed 342 yards. EHS quarterback Emery Whalen had the team's best passing game of the season so far by going 8-for-14 for 141 yards including a 20-yard touchdown pass to Reese Sager for the game's first TD. Whalen also scored on a 49-yard touchdown run which gave the Panthers a 13-0 lead. He took the majority of plays behind center in this ballgame as he had been rotated in at quarterback with Kyle Kurrelmeyer for much of this season.
"Emery's a good runner and he's been throwing the ball very well of late," EHS head coach Clair Austin. "This was a game he could display his skills."
Somerset took advantage of an Ellsworth interception late in the second quarter and used it to score its lone TD of the contest, a 42-yard pass from quarterback Reed Baillargeon to Heaven Hunt to make the score 13-8 at halftime. But the Panthers dominated the second half both in time of possession thanks to the good, hard running by their backs. A five-yard TD run by Dennis Schutz in the third quarter made the score 21-8. EHS capped the game with a 32-yard scoring run by Homecoming king Brandon VanderMarliere. He led the team in rushing with 99 yards on 11 carries. Whalen had 51 yards on two carries and Schutz finished with 31 yards on 11 attempts. Nick Taranto caught four passes for 62 yards and Sager had two catches for 49 yards while Schutz caught two passes for 30 yards.
Ellsworth's defense held Somerset's Division I tight end prospect Gaelin Elmore to one catch for 10 yards and held the Spartans' vaunted ground game to just 119 yards rushing on 44 carries. Devrin Myers's coverage of Elmore along with the control up front established by linemen like Adam Schuster and Brodey Kemmmerer were key factors in the Panthers' win.
"We were patient and disciplined and never gave them an opening they could exploit for a big play," Austin said. "In time we were able to get in their backfield and stop them."
Ellsworth stays unbeaten while handing the defending state champs their first loss this year. The Panthers play at Baldwin-Woodville next Friday.