Glencoe-Silver Lake football players had bad memories and pent-up energy running through their blood Friday night. Key players returned this year after suffering heartbreaking defeats last fall that denied them the conference and section championship titles.
They were reminded of that leading up to the season opener.
"In all the coaches' speeches, every one of them, we heard them say, 'This is for the blood, sweat and tears that you guys ended with last November. You've got to bring it to this game,'" said senior Ryan Kuester, who scored three touchdowns.
"And that's what we did."
The Panthers defeated Holy Family 46-21 in the Fire's Wright County Conference debut at Stevens Seminary Stadium in Glencoe.
The Panthers defense didn't allow a first down until there was 9:59 left in the second quarter. They didn't allow a score until they were up by 40 points with 26.6 seconds left in the half.
Kuester and Stuedemann got the scoring going early. Ethan Maass danced and dazzled with a 55-yard punt return.
At 6-2 and 200 pounds, junior Dalton Clouse plowed through all three levels of the Fire defense, breaking tackles and then outrunning the secondary to complete a 45-yard touchdown run. He added a similar 41-yard power run to put the Panthers up 33-0. Sophomore quarterback Keaton Anderson connected with Kuester for two long touchdown passes for 47 and 40 yards.
The coaching staff wasn't pleased with their team's second-half performance based on the postgame huddle. But all in all, it was a positive start against the conference newbies.
"We just wanted to give them a nice welcoming into the conference," Kuester said. "I think we did just that."