Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
MT. PLEASANT — It was a frustrating Friday night for the Mt. Pleasant football team. Despite a three-score night from sophomore Payton Hagans, the Panthers fell 31-21 to the visiting Keokuk Chiefs.
The Chiefs owned the ground all night, running for 253 yards and five touchdowns, as Keokuk beat Mt. Pleasant for the first time since 2016.
Mt. Pleasant had a strong start. The Panthers scored on their first drive when Hagans dashed 47 yards to the end zone, making it 7-0 early.
The Panthers had a shot to make it a two-score game after a Lincoln Henriksen fumble recovery put them in the red zone, but Mt. Pleasant turned the ball over on downs, the first of three straight possessions that would end with a turnover.
The Chiefs capitalized on all three to score the next 18 points. Hagans punched another one before halftime, but Keokuk held an 18-14 points at the break.
The third quarter was all Chiefs, as Keokuk scored twice early to open a 31-14 lead.
“We stopped executing on offense, and they found some things in our defense that we could not stop,” said Mt. Pleasant head coach Shawn Striegel. “They had our number.”
The Panthers still had some fight left, however. Quarterback Carson Coleman led a long drive that ended with Hagans third touchdown rush of the day, and Hagans added to his big game by picking off a pass on the next drive.
“He's a phenomenal kid and a hard worker,” Striegel said. “He's a student of the game and just has a knack for playing football.”
Mt. Pleasant had a handful of shots to cut the lead to single digits, but the Panthers didn’t reach the end zone anymore. A penalty-filled fourth quarter went scoreless, and the Chiefs escaped with a 10-point victory.
“We kept ourselves out of position several times tonight,” Striegel said. “They exploited those weaknesses on us pretty bad.”