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Panthers get big homecoming win
Touchdown! Dimitri Lane (No. 27 at right) helps Roderick Jones (No. 14) get up after being tackled in the end zone. Lane scored three touchdowns and Jones scored two for the evening. The last touchdown was from defensive player Jackie Walthour. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
Powerhouse plays and a tough-standing defense brought the Panthers back into the winners’ column with a slashing 42-7 victory over the Richmond Hill Wildcats on Friday.
Despite several turnovers from both teams in the first half of the game, the Panthers capitalized on the opportunities more than the Wildcats and completely dominated the field in front of a delighted homecoming crowd.
The opening kickoff was caught deep inside the Panthers’ 10-yard line by Roderick Jones who returned it to the Wildcats’ 35-yard line. From that point on, it was apparent the Panthers were in control of the game’s tempo.
Julian Stokes directed the offense for most of the game. Brandon Roberts and Byron Calahan took a night off to allow time to heal minor injuries, giving Roderick Jones and Dimitri Lane the opportunity to break through tackles and create the seams throughout the night for the Panthers.
In their first offensive drive, it was Jones who carried the ball several times. He even took a direct snap from the center, Jonathan Davis, and found the middle wide open bringing the ball into the seven-yard line.
Jones took a pitch from Stokes and ran it in for the first touchdown.
The Wildcats looked to rally and put some points on the board after Jones fumbled the ball and the Wildcats recovered. An offside penalty called on the Panthers brought the Wildcats even further into Panther territory and a new set of downs. Their quarterback completed a pass that placed them at the Panthers’ 12-yard line. But on the next play, the Wildcats fumbled the ball and Marcus Jefferson recovered for the Panthers, taking the ball to the 40-yard line. Stokes then completed a pass to Demetrius Stinson but the ball was stripped from his hands and recovered by the Wildcats.
Using the I-formation, the Panthers broke down the Wildcats’ defense and Lane carried the ball three times before hitting the end zone for another touchdown and a 14-0 game with five minutes left in the first half.
In their next drive, the Wildcats’ quarterback connected on a pass to his receiver who broke open and looked to make it to the end zone until Kendrick Jones got a hold of his jersey and eventually brought him down for a Panther tackle. The Wildcats were then penalized for a delay of game and then a false start, pushing them back even further. Unable to move the ball, the Wildcats were forced to punt.
Stokes tucked the ball in and ran but was just shy of the first down. Lane followed with a carry and the first down. Stokes then overthrew his receiver and the Wildcats’ defender was unable to hold onto the ball for the interception. Jones then carried the ball from a direct snap but the Panthers found themselves in a fourth-and-seven situation.
Edward Chipple came out to punt but the snap went over his head. He was able to recover the ball and attempted to make the punt. The ball was taken by a Wildcat player and carried down to the two-yard line before a Panthers’ defender stopped him.
This play caused an uproar in the Richmond Hill stands as everyone thought the player was in the end zone before he was brought down. The coaches conferred with the referees but the decision on the field was that he did not break the end-zone plane with the ball before being tackled.
Two plays later, the Wildcats broke through the Panthers’ defense and scored their first touchdown, making it a 14-7 game with 35 seconds left before the half.
Jones returned the kick to the Panthers’ 24-yard line. Lane then ran the ball for 10-yards and another first down. Stokes then connected to Paul Davis who took the ball all the way to the Wildcats’ 35-yard line with 12 seconds left before the half.
The Wildcats were called off side with seven seconds left, giving the Panthers the ball at the 31-yard line. Stokes was then sacked leaving four seconds on the clock and the Panthers attempted to kick a field goal. But the kick was short of the cross bars and the half ended with the Panthers still holding a 14-0 lead.
In the third quarter, Jones returned the ball to the 40-yard line and then carried the ball to the 46-yard line.
Jones then broke a tackle, crossed midfield and was tackled at the 30-yard line of the Wildcats. Lane carried the ball for five yards, then six yards for another first down at the 19-yard line. Lane then broke the lone tackle in front of him scored another touchdown, making it 21-7 with 8:22 left in the third quarter.

Later, Stokes connected another pass to Davis and Thomas Penny came into the game with a carry but it left the Panthers’ facing a fourth down. An incomplete pass then turned the ball over to the Wildcats inside their own 38-yard line. But once again, the Panthers’ defense proved to strong and the third quarter ended with the Panthers’ still leading 21-7.
Early in the fourth, the Wildcats began to move the ball by opening up the passing game. With their renewed momentum they began to drive into Panthers’ territory until Brandon Alvin intercepted a touchdown pass.
The Wildcats were called on a 15-yard penalty, bringing the Panthers inside the Wildcats’ 35-yard line. Lane carried the ball for nine yards, and then carried for the first down. Jones brought the ball to the 15-yard line, then the four-yard line. Jones carried the ball and spun his way around the defenders into the end zone for a 28-7 lead.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats started another rally connecting on several passes that brought them to the Panthers’ 16-yard line.
The quarterback then found a receiver in the end zone but at the last second Artavious Frost stepped in front of the receiver for an interception in the end zone, giving the Panthers the ball back at the 20-yard line and only 1:55 left in the game.
Henry Barrett took over as the Panthers’ quarterback and carried the ball to the 26-yard line. Jones carried the ball to the 37-yard line and a new set of Panther downs. But the Panthers’ fumbled the ball and gave the Wildcats another opportunity to score.
Thinking they had the momentum, the Wildcats’ quarterback tucked the ball away and began to run. He was hit by a Panther defender forcing another fumble and there to recover for the Panthers was Lane who ran the ball all the way in for the touchdown and 35-7 lead.
To add insult to injury, the Wildcats made a last attempt for a scoring drive and with 44 seconds left on the clocked the quarterback cocked back his arm for the throw.
A Panther defender tipped the ball right into the hands of Jackie Walthour who carried it in for the final Panther score of the night and a 42-7 victory for homecoming.
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