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Panthers squeak passed Hephzibah
Quarterback Julian Stokes (13) hands the ball to Roderick Jones (14) during a game against Glenn Hills. The pair would combine for two touchdowns in Friday’s game against Haphzibah. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
The Panthers avoided a possible disastrous ending in Friday night’s game by stopping the Hephzibah Rebels on a two-point conversion that would have given them a victory.
Instead, the Panthers held on to a one-point advantage in their 14-13 win.
With Julian Stokes as quarterback, and with the running effort of Roderick Jones, the Panthers were able to put up 14 points. The defense, strong as usual, held the Rebels scoreless for most of the game.
But in a last minute rally the Rebels began to bounce back. With the Panthers ahead, 14-0, and only six minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Rebels found a way into the end zone bringing the game within seven points.
The Panthers had the ball offensively but were unable to eat away much time on the clock and the Rebels were given the ball one more time.
The Panthers again had a breakdown on the defense and, with eight seconds left in the game, the Rebels scored, making it 14-13.
But the Rebels got greedy. Thinking they found a way of breaking the Panthers defense, the Rebels went for the two-point conversion and the win.
Instead, the Panther defense regained their composure and stopped the Rebels from getting the ball into the end zone.
The Rebels tried an onside kick, but the Panthers recovered and let the clock run down to hold onto the win by one point.
“Late in the game, we had some break down in our defense,” head coach Kirk Warner said. “The Rebels were able to convert four fourth-down plays in the fourth quarter allowing the scores. Thankfully, the defense did what they had to do to get the job done when we needed it,” he said.
This gives the Panthers a regional record of 2-1 tying with Benedictine and South Effingham - the Panthers’ next two opponents.
“There is no question the regional playoffs will come down to the last game,” Warner said.
The 3A-AAA leader right now is Burke County. The Panthers played Burke three weeks ago as their region opener and lost 7-20. Burke, Liberty and South Effingham are all 6-2, overall, followed by Benedictine at 5-3.
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