The Ellsworth Community College Panthers took a 3-8 regular season record into the 2017 Graphic Edge Bowl, and came away with a decisive 55-14 win over Northland Community and Technical College (9-2). Ellsworth continues to hold its NJCAA record of most bowl game wins in the nation.
Northland was first on the board, scoring two touchdowns in the first half. After that it was all Ellsworth. Jake Schuman threw a 22 yard pass to Ben Rooney to get the Panthers on the board in the first quarter. The second quarter included another touchdown from Schuman to Rooney on a 59 yard pass, and then Rooney snagged a 28 yard pass from Paris Chambers, taking the Panthers into the half up 21-14.
During the second half of the game ECC ruled the field with 34 additional unanswered points. Schuman threw an 80 yard pass to Malike Thornton early in the 3rd quarter, followed by a 1 yard run for a touchdown by Tekendrick Roberson, a 25 yard interception return by Nikolas Ricks, and a 64 yard touchdown pass from Chambers to Rooney. The Panthers' final touchdown came in the fourth quarter when Chambers ran in for 7 yards.
Defensive MVP of the game was awarded to Ricks, who had 9 tackles with 8 of those being solo, 2 sacks, 2 tackles for a loss and 1 interception that was run back 25 yards for a touchdown.
Offensive MVP of the game went to Rooney, who racked up an amazing 177 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns.
The role of quarterback was split between Chambers and Schuman. Chambers threw for 191 yards and had 3 touchdowns. Schuman threw for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Roberson led the Panthers in rushing with 91 yards and 1 touchdown; Dot Combs followed with 67 yards. Rooney led the team in receiving with 177 yards and 4 touchdowns, and Thornton had 80 yards and 1 touchdown.
Ricks led the defense for the Panthers, followed by Sam Gerst who had 6 tackles with 5 of those beign solow and 1 interception that he returned for 15 yards. Elijah Jones had 2 interceptions in the game as well as blocking a kick. Naeem Smith also had an interception. Torrian Scrutchins had 2 sacks in the game followed by Isaiah Childs with 1.5, Demetrius Caddell with 1 and Keonte Schad and Solomon Pierce each with .5.
ECC Head Coach Jesse Montalto has won all four of the Graphic Edge Bowl games that he has coached with the Panthers.
Photo Caption: Ellsworth Community College football team.