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Returning experience aims to boost Panthers to playoffs

Rugby Panthers Coach Travis Risovi, second from left, times a runner on the first day of football practice Aug. 8 Sue Sitter/PCT

The Rugby Panthers are entering the 2022 season after coming off an even 4-4 record last year. This season, the Panthers are on the prowl and hungry for more, as they look to make a postseason run.

“The No. 1 goal for this team is to qualify for the playoffs,” head coach Travis Risovi tells The Minot Daily News.

For the Panthers to achieve their goal, Risovi believes that putting the ball in the end zone more frequently and executing at the end of their drives will be key for his team.

“We must improve in the red zone this season. We moved the ball very well last year but did not finish drives in the red zone,” he said.

One aspect the Panthers have working for them in 2022 is that they will have a variety of returning players that have a lot of experience playing at the varsity level. Risovi expects that to work to the Panthers advantage.

“We expect to be a very solid football team this season. We have a lot of returning players who have played a lot of varsity football, and should be a very experienced and competitive team.”

Among those with experience, the Panthers will be bringing back 13 seniors and five juniors this year. While the roster is primarily loaded with upperclassmen, it will additionally give the players an opportunity to mentor the younger players who will be stepping up in the absence of the upperclassmen.

Brody Schneibel, Erik Foster, Macen Heisler, Jacob Ripplinger, Logan Harner, John Jundt, Dylan Bartsch, Isaac Christenson, Cooper Bonebrake, William Lundberg, and Bryceton Deplazes are a handful of the seniors that Risovi says will be integral to the team’s success this season.

While the roster will look similar with so many players returning, the overall outlook of the season will be slightly different for the Panthers, as they will be playing in Class B Region 2. This opportunity gives them the chance to rekindle old rivalries and face off against new opponents.

“We are looking forward to all the games this season. Moving to a new region and getting to play some new opponents such as Hillsboro/Central Valley and Thompson, along with renewing some old rivalries with teams such as Harvey/Wells County and Bottineau is exciting for our team,” he said.

The Rugby Panthers began their quest for the playoffs on Aug. 19, against Harvey/Wells County.

SCHEDULE

Friday, Aug. 19

Harvey/Wells County 7 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 26

@ Carrington 7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 2

Sargent County 7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 9

@ Langdon 7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 16

@ Thompson 7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 23

Bottineau 7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 30

@ Park River Area 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 7

Hillsboro/Central Valley 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 14

Grafton 6 p.m.

ROSTER

No. Name Gr. Position

7 Brody Schneibel 12 QB-LB

9 Erik Foster 12 WR-S

10 Macen Heisler 12 RB-CB

12 Tucker Volk 10 QB-S

17 Jacob Ripplinger 12 WR-S

20 Weston Kuntz 10 RB-CB

21 Austin Schneibel 11 FB-LB

22 Logan Harner 12 RB-CB

24 John Jundt 12 FB-LB

25 Kolton Bohl 10 RB-LB

30 Jose Ortega Jr. 9 RB-LB

32 Taytum Risovi 10 RB-CB

33 Jaxon Heilman 9 WR-CB

34 Kolton Buckmier 9 QB-CB

35 Aidan Clements 9 WR-CB

40 Kristian Fritz 12 FB-LB

42 Caleb Schaan 9 RB-DE

44 Levi Lundberg 10 OL-LB

45 Connor Ramsey 10 TE-DE

50 Elijah Towe 9 OL-LB

52 Alex Kraft 9 OL-DL

54 Dylan Bartsch 12 T-LB

55 Gentry Craig 12 G-DL

56 Isaac Christenson 12 G-DL

60 Carter Teigen 9 OL-DL

63 Cole Anderson 10 G-DL

65 Bailey Zachmeier 10 OL-DL

68 Bryce Zietz 9 OL-DL

75 Cooper Bonebrake 12 T-DL

76 Micah Musser 11 C-LB

77 Alex Berndt 10 T-DL

78 Landon Zietz 10 G-DL

79 Hudson Hjelden 11 OL-DL

80 William Lundberg 12 TE-DE

88 Dane Heidbreder 11 TE-DE

89 Bryceton Deplazes 12 TE-DE

90 Cy Walker 11 WR-LB

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