Pictured above: Mehlville Panthers quarterback Evan Robertson takes the ball from the Flyers in the rain-delayed, mud-soaked game Saturday. Photo by Bill Milligan.
By Stephen Glover
For the Call
The rain-delayed, mud-soaked Labor Day weekend football matchup between Mehlville and Lindbergh had all the ingredients of a state playoff game. But it was only the first week of the 2019 season.
The Flyers held on at home for an impressive 17-10 victory over the Panthers.
Both schools are coming off runs into last year’s state football playoffs. And both the Panthers and the Flyers are known for their potent running attacks supported by stout defenses.
“It was definitely a good way to start the season,” Lindbergh head coach Nathan Norman said. “Hats off to Mehlville, because they competed literally to the end.”
Despite the loss, Mehlville head coach Kent Heinemann was happy with his team’s ability to march down the field with minutes left in the game and give themselves a chance to tie the game.
“I thought we moved the ball OK and at times we executed on defense, but the thing I was happy with the most was that when we needed to, we put ourselves in position to tie the game,” Heinemann said. “You can’t be upset with that at all.”
Lindbergh jumped out to a 7-0 lead with 5:30 left to play in the first quarter as Logan Kopp hauled in a 76-yard pass from Logan Marchand. Kicker Josh Lorenz notched the extra point.
“Our line did a great job of protecting the quarterback,” Norman said. “Kopp broke a couple of tackles and got us on the right track.”
The Flyers extended their lead to 14-0 as Bobby Tessler pounded in a touchdown from four yards out with 8:16 to play in the second quarter. Lorenz recorded his second extra point of the game. Tessler finished the afternoon with 22 carries for 115 yards rushing.
“Bobby is a big physical back that protects the ball well,” Norman said. “Our best defense is when the other team doesn’t have the ball.”
Mehlville would quickly answer with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Evan Robertson to Logan Moen with 8:10 to play in the first half as the Panthers trimmed Lindbergh’s lead to 14-7.
“We had Logan (Moen) to the left, and he’s just a big, tall receiver,” Heinemann said. “He went up and made a nice play to put us on the board.”
The Panthers would score again with 4:20 left in the first half as Charlie Galentine booted a 31-yard field goal to bring the score to 14-10.
“I can’t tell you how important those three points were for us,” Heinemann said. “Charlie got a good foot on the ball, and it was some big points for us.”
Lindbergh would seal the game up with a 21-yard field goal by Lorenz to give Lindbergh the 17-10 lead with 7:35 left in the game.
“I learned long ago that we don’t take the kicking game for granted,” Norman said. “Josh has been consistent, and that was the difference maker for us.”
Mehlville is back in action Saturday evening, hosting De Soto at Oakville High School with a 7 p.m. start — a game rescheduled in time and place due to Mehlville’s bleachers not being finished by the start of the school year.
Lindbergh returns to action Friday as the Flyers travel to Fox for a 7 p.m. showdown with the Warriors.
“Fox has got a good program,” Norman said. “They’re well coached and disciplined, and I think we’re very similar teams on paper. So it should be a good game.”
“De Soto was pretty big and physical last year, and they look like a good squad this year,” Heinemann said. “It should be a good night of football and I like our chances.”