By Andrew Luberda
Copper Area News
The Ray Bearcats defeated the Superior Panthers to reclaim the historic Copper Helmet trophy last Friday night, 48 – 6. It was the sixth win of the year for the ninth-ranked Bearcats.
The Bearcats were led by Dominic Bravo with 3 touchdowns on the night, including one on an 80-yard punt return. Robin Newman added two touchdowns and quarterback Destry Yocum had one touchdown on a 58-yard run. Newman finished the game with 11 carries for 77 yards.
For the Panthers, it was a difficult and emotional night. Starting quarterback Nicolaus Cruz left game early with a severe concussion. The loss of Cruz, who does it all for the Panthers, was difficult to overcome for a young Panthers’ team.
“Once he was hurt the impact was felt,” head coach Ryan Palmer said about the effect of Cruz’s injury on the team.
Palmer said his team committed “too many turnovers” in the game to stay competitive with an experienced Bearcats’ team.
“We should’ve played (Ray) more competitively than we did,” Palmer said.
The Bearcats’ defense had four interceptions on the night. Ryan Bickley, Dominic Bravo, Joe Rudy Lorona, and Seth Harmon each had an interception.
Despite the loss, Palmer said his young team continues to gain valuable experience that will benefit the program in the long run.
The Bearcats closeout their regular season at Duncan Friday night, while the Panthers will celebrate their homecoming on the final night (Friday) of their season versus Ft. Thomas.
The Panthers will be without Cruz, who was ruled out for the season.
Palmer knows what it will take for the Panthers to finish their season on a high note.
“If we can fix our mistakes and minimize the turnovers (we can win),” he said.