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HS Football Week 2: Southwestern and North Mac rally, Carlinville loses against Pana

Hunter Newell, pictured running the football against Gillespie in Week 1 of the high school varsity season, helped the Southwestern Piasa Birds lock up a 27-21 Week 2 victory against Litchfield Sept. 1. Newell sealed the deal with an end zone interception. Enquirer Democrat photo by Jackson Wilson.


Enquirer Democrat Reporter

In Week 2 of the high school football season, Southwestern and North Mac rallied to win, while Carlinville fell short in a highly-anticipated battle against Pana.

Southwestern 27, Litchfield 21

Hunter Newell snatched an interception in the back of the end zone to seal a 27-21 come-from-behind victory for Southwestern during the closing moments of an epic home opener at Piasa.

The Birds scored 20 unanswered points in the second half and became one of four South Central Conference teams to start the season 2-0.

Quarterback Blake Rimbey passed for a pair of touchdowns and 198 yards on 13 successful throws. Rocky Darr also found the end zone twice, rushing for 70 yards on 15 carries.

Defensively, Southwestern forced four Litchfield turnovers.

The Birds venture an hour northeast for a battle of unbeatens versus defending SCC champion Pana Fri., Sept. 8.

North Mac 28, Gillespie 22 (OT)

The North Mac Panthers also erased a double-digit deficit on home turf as they held off the Gillespie Miners, 28-22, in overtime on home turf.

Behind 212 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns from Dane Vance, coupled with 136 rushing yards and an additional end zone score courtesy of James Graves, the Panthers earned their first victory and dropped the Miners to 0-2.

Tristen Wargo threw for 211 yards and a touchdown while completing 12 of 20 passes for Gillespie in defeat. Logan Griffith added 109 GHS yards on the ground, handling 28 carries.

North Mac travels to Litchfield (0-2) while Gillespie returns home to meet Greenville (2-0) Sept. 9.

Pana 30, Carlinville 20

The Carlinville Cavaliers posted a shutout throughout the entirety of the first half, but that effort still wasn’t enough.

The Pana Panthers came to town and spoiled the Cavies’ home opener, 30-20.

Carlinville, which fell to 1-1 on the year, remained without a win against Pana since 2018.

With the Cavaliers trailing by nine halfway through the third quarter after seeing a 7-0 advantage slip through the cracks, Rex Reels found Triston Thompson on a 32-yard pass on ‘fourth and six’ to set CHS up at ‘first and goal’ near the Pana two-yard line. Jack Rouse ran the ball into the end zone on the next play to reduce the gap and the war was on. Carlinville missed the extra point but only trailed 16-13.

The Cavaliers came away with a major defensive stop and were just a handful of yards away from regaining the lead.

Unfortunately, inconsistent offensive line protection cost Carlinville as quarterback Rex Reels immediately found himself pursued by five Panthers. In a desperate attempt to get rid of the football and avoid a sack, Reels threw an interception that resulted in an 80-yard ‘pick six.’

Rouse returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown to keep CHS afloat but Pana remained calm under pressure and pulled away for good with seven points on its next drive.

Carlinville looks to bounce back at Vandalia (1-1) Sept. 9.

Other action

In other SCC action, Staunton (0-2) lost 21-7 at Vandalia and Greenville picked up a key 27-7 victory against Route 127 rival Hillsboro (1-1).

Pana 30, Carlinville 20
Southwestern 27, Litchfield 21
North Mac 28, Gillespie 22 (OT)
Vandalia 21, Staunton 7
Greenville 27, Hillsboro 7
Carlinville @ Vandalia
Greenville @ Gillespie
North Mac @ Litchfield
Hillsboro @ Staunton
Southwestern @ Pana