- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
BY: Greg Higgins
PARIS – New Boston came into Friday night’s game ranked # 4 in the state and had racked up three very impressive wins. Having beat their previous three opponents by a combined total of 135 – 13, this proved to be a daunting task for both the Panthers offensively and defensively.
One of the players North Lamar would need to stop is Damien Haskins, the Lions number one running back. He has incredible speed and his ability to change directions quickly was on display Friday night.
Head Coach Felty wanted to see his team come into the game with more intensity and mental focus. “Intensity was better,” he said after the game, even though his team had just lost 38-24 to New Boston. “We wanted a good effort and we got the effort.”
The Panthers spread the ball around more Friday night than in previous games. Chance Kelley led the way for the Panthers on the ground with 116 yards on 28 attempts while quarterback Austin Anthony had 64 yards on 16 attempts. Ian Dukleth and Cody Edwards both had 24 yards on 8 carries.
North Lamar took the opening kickoff at their own 27 yard line. Nine plays later, Edwards was somersaulting into the end zone over a Lions’ defender. After Mario Smith added the extra point, it was 7 – 0 less than four minutes into the game.
The two teams would both be forced to punt on their next possessions and New Boston would get the ball at their nine yard line. It only took two plays for the Lions to find the end zone. Damien Haskins, the went 64 yards and 27 yards respectively to put New Boston on the scoreboard. The extra point was missed so it the Panthers still had a 7 – 6 lead.
The Panthers would answer with a scoring drive of their own, however they had to settle for a field goal when the drive stalled at the 19 yard line. Mario Smith would be successful on the 36 yard attempt to extend the Panthers’ lead to 10 – 7.
It would only take five plays on the next possession for the Lions to execute another touchdown. This time it was Quinn Dedmon with the 23 yard touchdown run for New Boston. The two-point conversion attempt failed so the score was now New Boston leading 12 – 10.
After a three and out series, the Panthers were forced to punt back to the explosive offense of New Boston. A good return by Jeff Gladney set the Lions up with great field position. Starting at the North Lamar 38 yard line, Haskins was dropped for a two yard loss to open the series. However, the next play would see Gladney take the handoff from the quarterback and scamper 40 yards for another touchdown. Phillip Pyle would tack on the extra point so now New Boston was up 19 – 10.
The Panthers would move down the field and be in position to score again before the half ended. However, Mario Smith’s 35 yard field goal attempt sailed to the left, so the Lions would take the 19 – 10 lead into halftime.
New Boston received the ball to start the second half. It only took four plays for them to march 56 yards down the field for another score. Haskins scored on a 23 yard run, but he was stopped short on the two-point conversion. New Boston now led 25 – 10. Haskins finished the night with 296 yards rushing on 19 attempts and three touchdowns.
The Panthers would turn the ball over on downs on their next possession, giving the ball back to the Lions. Once again it only took New Boston four plays to move 67 yards for the score. On a fourth down and one play, Haskins broke through the defensive line for a 58 yard touchdown run.
The Panthers weren’t done, though. Taking over at their own 36 yard line, the Lions would see a heavy dose of Chance Kelley. On a drive that took 12 plays and ate up over five minutes on the clock, the Panthers would reach the end zone again. Kelley would score his second touchdown of the game to cut the Lions down to 31 – 16.
Jimmie Johnson would score the final touchdown for New Boston on a three yard run. The extra point was successful so now the score was 38 – 16 in favor of New Boston.
After holding the Panthers and getting the ball back with less than four minutes left the Lions decided to work on the passing game. The Panthers would make them pay for this decision. On a third and 10 pass play, quarterback Aaron Conkleton’s pass was snatched out of the air by Ian Dukleth. Dukleth would take the interception all the way to the end zone for the Panthers’ score. Chance Kelley would convert the two-point attempt making the score New Boston 38 – North Lamar 24.
The Panthers were unsuccessful on the onside kick attempt so the Lions were able to run out the clock to end the game.
“Our intensity was definitely better and that’s a plus for us,” said Felty. “I saw some improvement in areas tonight and I was pleased with that.”
Hopefully the Panthers can build on Friday night’s performance as they edge closer to district play. Coach Felty talked about a few missed blocks that could have opened the way for possibly some big plays against New Boston. “There’s just a couple puzzle pieces we’re still looking for, and hopefully by district we’ll have them in place,” he says.
The Panthers have one more tune-up game before district play starts. They will host Quinlan Ford next Friday night for Homecoming. Kickoff is set for 7:30.