St. Vincent football is still searching for its identity offensively and that showed itself on Friday night. Scott City senior Mark Panagos scored a pair of touchdowns to help the Rams past the Indians 16-14 at Scott City High School.
“We just have to keep working,” St. Vincent coach Tim Schumer said. “We had some opportunities at the end, but couldn’t take advantage of them.”
St. Vincent took the lead in the first quarter after quarterback Christian Schaaf threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to receiver Simon Barber and held that lead into halftime.
Panagos answered in the third quarter with his first rushing touchdown of the game and threw to Gavin Venable to take the 8-7 lead on a 2-point conversion.
Panagos injured his left hamstring last week against Dexter and couldn’t finish the game, and was considered “not 100 percent by Scott City coach Jim May after that game.
“He got loose on a couple of big runs, but for the most part I thought we did a good job of bottling him up,” Schumer said.
St. Vincent capitalized on a fumble and drove to the endzone, punctuating a short scoring drive with a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Cruz Reitzel to go up 14-8 in the fourth quarter.
The Scott City defense helped keep the game close with key interceptions by Lawson Graff and Nathan Ham leading up to Panagos’ heroics. He scored a touchdown on a 39-yard run with about 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter to secure the win.
Schumer felt like the defense did enough to get the win, but the team is still trying to find itself on offense. The Indians are averaging 16 points in the first two games, and giving up 18. Last year, St. Vincent averaged nearly 31 points.
“I think we are still finding ourselves,” Schumer said. “We have had some good things happen, but I think we are still trying to work out some kinks. Once we smooth those out and found out what works for us and what our bread and butter will be, things will start to roll. I think we are getting really close.”
This will be the end of the rivalry between the two Southeast Missouri teams. After Scott City made the jump to Class 2 this year and their future schedules were filled with SEMO conference matchups, 2023 became the last year these two teams would play each other for the foreseeable future.
The rivalry saw some good matchups including in 2021 when St. Vincent won the regular season matchup, and the Rams won a high scoring contest 49-35 in the postseason. Scott City closes out the series with an 11-3 record over St. Vincent.
The Indians will move on to face another rival on Friday when it hosts Perryville in the first home game of the season. St. Vincent has won the last five matchups with the Pirates, including a 38-7 victory last season.
Schumer said a person can throw out the records and past games when the two teams get together.
“It doesn’t matter what the two teams have done up to this point,” he said. “We are going to have to put in a good week of practice and be ready to go.”