Park seeks first season win against Belgrade

Neil Patrick Healy

Here is an overview of the Park High Rangers’ football team’s upcoming game.

Who? The Belgrade Panthers (0-1) vs. The Park High Rangers (0-1).

What? Week two of the high school football season.

Where? Belgrade High School.

When? Friday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m.

Last matchup: Belgrade throttled Park in last season’s finale 72-6 and outrushed the Rangers by a staggering mark of 411-47. The Panthers are riding a four-game winning streak against the Rangers, with Park’s last win coming in 2012.

Preview: Both teams are coming into this matchup looking for their first win of the season after ugly losses in week one. Park suffered a 20-0 shut out at the hands of the Dawson Red Devils, while Belgrade looked sluggish in a 31-3 defeat to the Sidney Eagles. Park and Belgrade struggled to run the ball, as both teams combined for a measly 98 rushing yards. Both defenses are looking to improve their run defense, as both teams gave up over 200 yards on the ground in week one. 

Difference maker: Both offenses betrayed their defenses by turning the ball over way too much. Park combined for five giveaways (four interceptions, one fumble), and Belgrade combined for three (one interception, two fumbles). The winner of this matchup will most likely be the one who doesn’t beat themselves too badly in the turnover department. 

Player to watch: Belgrade linebacker Blade Vega.

Belgrade’s defense had a rough night last Friday against Sidney, but the silver lining for the unit was the play of Vega. The senior had a dominating performance, tallying 15 total tackles (including 12 solos), one sack and one interception. Both teams struggled to run the ball, but Belgrade may have the advantage in stopping the run in this matchup thanks to Vega. 

Keys to the game: It comes down to two extremely basic components: who can run the ball well and who can turn it over less. Both teams struggled last week in both facets, so whoever can get those two aspects of the game going will most likely come away with the win.