PAXTON -- The Paxton-Buckley-Loda Youth Football Mighty Mites ended their season with a 13-12 loss to Momence.
Caleb Fauser had 15 carries for 217 yards and two touchdowns for PBL while Blake Shumate had seven carries for 15 yards, Carter Manzke had four carries for 14 yards and Hunter Shedd had two carries for 10 yards.
The Panthers had a 12 lead going into halftime and led the game up until the last 4 minutes, when Momence scored to tie the game and made their extra-point conversion from eight yards out due to a false-start penalty on them, making it 13-12. The Panthers had two different drive opportunities to score again and could not get over that hump either time.
"They keyed in on Caleb, so we knew we had to change things up a bit, giving some of the other backs some touches," PBL Mighty Mites coach Chris White said.
Defensively, Carter Manzke led PBL with 11 tackles, Caleb Fauser had six tackles, Cain Synder had four tackles, and Jase Droughns and Hunter Shedd chipped in for two tackles each. Xavier Kinder and Blake Shumate each had a tackle as well.
"Defensively, this was the best game we played all year," White said. "We finally got the defense to make some important stops throughout the game. Unfortunately, we couldn't get the stop when we needed it the most. That's not what hurt us today in the game. We just had several penalties, which ultimately cost us the game. We had some big penalties on us at the wrong time, and when we were driving down the field to score. I think when you look back at all the penalties we had, and you take those big ones away, it's a different ball game. I have to hand it to Momence because they were a totally different team than when we played them in week one of the season, beating them in overtime 6-0.
"I am not disappointed in the way the kids played today, because they played their hearts out. Yeah, it's a tough loss and one that ends our season, but the coaching staff watched these kids develop over the course of the season. They were a great group of kids to work with day-in and day-out. We have a lot of talent with this group, and they will continue to develop over the offseason, hopefully. I told them what I was disappointed about was that I don't get to work with them anymore in football for this season, and I'm going to miss that aspect of it. Our team parents were phenomenal this year with their support for the team, helping out with various things, and being understanding when practices ran much later than of the Juniors and Seniors."