By Don Jones,
The Lewis County High School Panthers had a superb opening to the 2016 football season this past Friday night at Panther Stadium. A wet field and a few passing showers did little to thwart the Panther attack as they dominated the second half in subduing visiting Eagleville 43-15.
The Eagles took the early lead with just under 5 minutes remaining in the first quarter, scoring on a 28 yard pass play. The point after try (PAT) made it 7-0. But the Panthers would waste little time answering back. They quickly moved down field with Cade Brewer scoring on a 2 yard run. Donovan Connor ran in the conversion to give the home team an 8-7 lead.
After trading possessions, Eagleville would reclaim the lead on a short run and 2 point conversion to make it 15-8. The Panthers would use a little trickery to regain the lead. With just 21 seconds remaining in the half, running back Denton Webb tossed a 17 yard scoring pass to Branton Sharp to seize the halftime momentum. Senior quarterback Dresden Barnes found Brewer for the 2 point conversion and the Panthers took a 16-15 lead into the halftime break.
When the two teams came out for the third quarter, the Panthers would prove that it was the tale of two halves. The defense which gave up 190 yards to the Eagles in the first half, put the clamps on, limiting the visitors to just 44 yards in the second half. Likewise, the offense was running on all cylinders. The Panthers outscored the guests 27-0 in the final 2 quarters.
Braiden Brown scored on a 1 yard blast at 7:34 of the third. The kick failed and it was 22-15. The Panthers would move down the field again later in the quarter, eating time off the clock in the process, this time scoring with just 9 seconds showing. Senior fullback Donovan Connor powered in from 8 yards out, Cade Brewer added the 2 point run and the third quarter ended with the home team up 30-15.
The Panthers would force a turnover to start the final period and Brown would get his second touchdown of the game, scoring on a 5 yard run. The conversion run failed and it was now 36-15 with 10:34 remaining. The final tally came just 2 minutes later with Denton Webb racing in from 17 yards out. Drezdin Brown added the PAT kick which would bring the final tally to 43-15.
The offense was explosive, racking up 293 yards rushing on 39 plays. They were 5-12 passing for 120 yards for a total of 413 yards offense on 51 plays. The Panthers had 15 first downs, 4 penalties for 30 yards and did not punt.
The Eagles ran the ball 31 times for 125 yards and were 11-18 passing for 109 yards with one interception. Their total offense was 234 yards on 49 plays. They had 13 first downs, 9 penalties for 55 yards, two turnovers and 3 punts for a 25 yard average.
Cade Brewer led the ground game with 11 rushes for 104 yards followed by Braiden Brown with 8 for 97, Denton Webb 4 for 30, Donovan Connor 8 for 23, Mason True 1 for 12, Brayden Armstrong 1 for 11, Eric Holcomb 4 for 9, Mikey Ortiz 1 for 4 yards.
Dresden Barnes threw for 103 yards on 4-11 passing with no turnovers. Webb was 1-1 for 17 yards.
Connor had 1 catch for 45 yards, Brandon White 1 for 33, Branton Sharp 1 for 17, Laine Spears 1 for 15 and Brown 1 for 10.
The defense was led by Preston Spencer with 10 tackles and 1 quarterback sack, Kaine Spears added 8 tackles, Trey Holbrook, Money Hobbs and Cade Brewer had 6 each, Denton Webb 5, Ty Banks and Jose Klein 4, Wyatt Walton and Tucker Runions 3, Evan Gamer, Donovan Conner and Branton Sharp with 2 tackles each. Mikey Ortiz, Eric Holcomb, J. J. Crowe and Joseph Bell each had one tackle. Holcomb added a fumble recovery while Sharp had an interception.
The Panthers will be on the road this Friday night with a trip to Bedford County to take on Region 4AA member Cascade. The Champions stadium is located on highway 269 northeast of Shelbyville, near the communities of Wartrace and Bell Buckle.
The Panthers will be looking to avenge last year’s 3 point loss. Cascade opened the season with 32-12 victory over Moore County.
REGION 5AA RESULTS
Lewis County 43 Eagleville 15
Hickman Co. 40 East Hickman 7
Riverside 47 Perry Co. 8
Scotts Hill 34 McNairy Central 14
Waverly 21 Camden 14
Summertown 34 Loretto 20
REGION 5AA SCHEDULE
Lewis County at Cascade
Hickman Co. at Cheatham Co.
Rogers, AL at Loretto
Lexington at Riverside
Waverly at East Hickman
Wayne Co. at Scotts Hill.