Panthers rally falls short against St. Luke’s

(Photo by Jake Lill) Michael Lewis looks for space around the edge for the Panthers Thursday night. He finished the game with 194 yards rushing on 18 carries.

(Photo by Jake Lill) Michael Lewis looks for space around the edge for the Panthers Thursday night. He finished the game with 194 yards rushing on 18 carries.

DIXON’S MILLS – Marengo (4-2, 3-1) saw its second-half rally fall short Thursday night as it fell to St. Luke’s (4-2, 3-1) 44-32 in a key Class 1A, Region 1 game.

After carrying a 36-16 lead into the locker room, St. Luke’s watched as Marengo hung 16 points on the board in the third quarter and cut the lead to 36-32.

With 7:52 remaining in the contest, the Panthers forced a turnover on downs as a 10-play St. Luke’s drive stalled at the Marengo 7.

The Panthers’ best chance to complete the comeback went by the wayside as the Wildcats surrendered only six yards on four plays to take back over possession. Two plays later, Luke Phillips hit John David Favors for a 17-yard strike to ice the contest. Phillips capped the scoring with a two-point conversion pass to Blake Fitzgerald.

St. Luke’s opened the scoring with a three-yard run by Kesson Bettis before Michael Lewis blocked the extra point for Marengo.

Bettis scored again on a two-yard run a little more than five minutes later to put the Wildcats up 12-0 in the first quarter.

Michael Kennedy returned a kickoff 80 yards for Marengo before Shamerian Lewis punched in a two-point run, cutting the score to 12-8.

The Wildcats struck gold again on the first play of the second quarter as Phillips connected with Favors for a 15-yard score. Phillips added the conversion run.

With 5:30 remaining in the opening half, Phillips scored on a three-yard run to end an eight-play, 53-yard drive. Bettis added the conversion run to make it 28-8.

Marengo then drove 86 yards on 10 plays, ending the march on a seven-yard run by Lewis. Jatevin Horn added the conversion run to cut the score to 28-16 with 1:32 to go until halftime.

St. Luke’s wasted little time, covering 56 yards in three plays as Phillips found Favors for a 14-yard scoring pass. Phillips then added the conversion run to set the halftime mark at 36-16 in favor of the Wildcats.

Marengo then used 13 plays to go 68 yards, ending the drive on a one-yard run by Michael Lewis, who then added his own conversion run to leave the Panthers down 36-24.

Marengo then put together its first defensive stop of the night, allowing Michael Lewis to lead his team on a 96-yard drive to trim the deficit to 36-32. The score came on a 72-yard run by Lewis with 1:16 to play in the third.

Phillips ended the night having completed 15 of his 18 pass attempts for 198 yards and three touchdowns.

Michael Lewis led all rushers with 18 carries for 194 yards and three scores.