By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Panthers get second shutout
Defensive drive: Dimitri Lane goes after a Bulldog fumble in Saturday’s 32-0 shutout. The Panther defense caused four turnovers and recovered three fumbles against the Harlem Bulldogs. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
For the second consecutive time, the Liberty County Panthers shut out their opponents.
This time, the Harlem Bulldogs were ushered a 32-0 loss at the hands of the Panthers in a Saturday-night display of hard-hitting defense.
In a scoreless first quarter, both teams struggled offensively. But when the Bulldogs kicked the ball to the Panthers in the second quarter, the officials gave it back to the Bulldogs, indicating a Panther player had touched it. The penalty ignited the Panthers’ defense.
Two plays later, the Bulldogs fumbled the ball and Dimitri Lane recovered it for the Panthers and then took it in for the touchdown. The extra point by Eddie Chipple was good, giving the Panthers a 7-0 lead.
As in last week’s game against Calvary Day, it was the defense that scored first for the Panthers. It would be the defense that would score for most of the night.
Not to be left out, the offense was able to move the ball downfield and, with 1:47 left before the half, Byron Calahan broke through a pile of Bulldogs for the touchdown. But the point after by Chipple was missed and the Panthers led 13-0.
A 15-yard pass interference penalty was called against Tachory Rhodes, placing the Bulldogs at the 35-yard line. That penalty was followed by another pass interference call on Thomas Penny, giving the Bulldogs a first down at the 50-yard line. But Lane used his speed and strength to sack the quarterback on the next play.
On the play that followed, a pass by the Bulldogs was intercepted by Artavious Frost, giving the Panthers’ offense the ball with 37 seconds still left on the clock. But the Bulldogs held tight with their defense and the half ended with the Panthers still up by 13.
To open the third, the Bulldogs fumbled the ball and Reggie Bodie attempted to recover it but failed. The ball then ended up back in the hands of a Bulldog, now pinned deep in their own territory.
Kendrick Jones picked off the Bulldogs’ next pass and ran it in for a score and a 19-0 game. Later in the third quarter, DeAngelo Quarterman recovered yet another Bulldog fumble and brought the ball to the 20-yard line before being tackled.
The coaching staff questioned the call on the fumble and argued with the referees, causing the team to be penalized for unsportsman-like conduct and the Panthers had the ball on the 10-yard line.
Calahan would carry the ball to the five-yard line and Brandon Roberts carried it on the next play for the score. Chipple’s kick was good, giving the Panthers a 26-0 lead.
The panthers kicked to the Bulldogs and Roberts, playing on the kick-return team, hit the Bulldog so hard he dropped the ball. Quarterman was there for the recovery and, once again, it was the Panther’s football with 3:52 left in the third quarter.
But three back-to-back penalties pushed the Panthers back from the 15-yard line to the 35-yard line. Quarterback Henry Barrett connected with Eric Holloway on a long pass, but the Bulldogs intercepted Barrett in the next play.
Two plays later, Tachory Rhodes intercepted the ball from the Bulldogs and the Panthers’ offense took over.
Coming in was Panther quarterback Julian Stokes with a handoff to Roberts who took the ball to the four-yard line. Calahan took the ball in for the final touchdown of the evening, making it a 32-0 game.
Head coach Kirk Warner once again used both quarterbacks - a strategy used primarily to keep both players engaged in the game and gain more playing time and experience.
Warner said Stokes and Barrett bring something different to the game.
It also gives the younger Stokes more game experience as Warner looks at the team’s future.
Defensive coordinator Thomas Desbiens said his defense made adjustments after the Brantley and Calvary Day games that helped create the turnovers in their game Saturday night. The Panthers’ defense held the Bulldogs to 119 total yards, 89 rushing yards, and was held to just 12 yards in the entire second half.
Leading the tackles were Trier Bennett with 7, Lane and Marcus Jefferson with 6, Bodie with 5, and Roberts and Rhodes with 3 each.
Sign up for our e-newsletters