Football Panthers come up short in 21-20 loss to SLUH

By STEPHEN GLOVER

If effort equaled wins, the Mehlville Senior High School football team most likely wouldn’t have a nagging nine-game losing streak riding its back.

On Friday night, the Panthers (0-9, 0-7 Suburban West) were a little more than two minutes away from their first win of the season.

But St. Louis University High’s Trevor McDonagh threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Mitch Klug with 2:05 left in the game. The 21-20 loss only added to Mehlville’s frustration in an already disappointing season. Despite the defeat, Mehlville head coach Eric Meyer believes that his Panthers put in a solid effort on the field.

“You couldn’t ask any more of these guys,” Meyer said. “I think that they played as hard as they could.”

Mehlville took a 6-0 lead with 10:01 left in the first quarter when Semkan Plavulj recovered a fumble and ran 27 yards for the score.

“When you get an early touchdown like that, it gets a team going,” Meyer said. “It really gives the kids some confidence.”

SLUH immediately responded with a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Trevor McDonagh.

But the Panthers retook the lead when quarterback Zach Hayes hit Mike Sulya for a 47-yard touchdown pass with 6:31 left in the first quarter. Hayes finished the evening completing 4 of 6 passes for 147 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

“The interception that Zach had wasn’t really his fault because it was third and long and we told him to not be afraid to take a chance,” Meyer said. “The one touchdown that he threw was a nice play-action pass.”

The Junior Billikens regained the lead when McDonagh scored on a one-yard run with 3:56 remaining in the third quarter.

Running back Rico Murphy gave the Panthers a 20-14 lead with 1:13 left in the third quarter on a 13-yard touchdown run, his first of the season.

“Rico’s a sophomore running back who made some really nice cuts back and found his way into the end zone,” Meyer said. “That was a big touchdown for us at that point of the game.”

SLUH marched down the field late and grabbed the win from Mehlville when McDonagh hit Mitch Klug on a three-yard touchdown pass with 2:05 left in the game.

The Panthers return to action at 7 p.m. Friday when they travel to Ritenour (1-8, 1-6 Suburban West).

“Ritenour’s a real athletic team that’s had some tough losses,” Meyer said. “They’re better than their record shows, but our goal is going to be to finish this season off with a win.”