- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
By: GREG HIGGINS
TEXARKANA – Three yards is all that separated North Lamar and the end zone. It’s also what separated them from tying up the score against the Liberty Eylau Leopards on Friday night. With the score 28 – 26 and 31 seconds left in the game, North Lamar had to punch the ball past the goal line for the tying score.
Earlier in the game, it was hard to imagine the Panthers would be in this position. They dominated the first quarter of the game. An interception was the only negative thing that happened to the Panthers in that quarter. The interception was costly, though. The Panthers defense had held Liberty Eylau deep in their own territory and forced them to punt. The punt was taken by Devin McDonald from the North Lamar 40 yard line and carried to the 25 yard line of the Leopards. On the first play of the drive, quarterback Austin Anthony threw a quick pass to the receiver. The ball deflected off his hands and landed right in the hands of Liberty Eylau’s star defensive back Davion Hall. Hall took the ball from the 20 yard line and, behind a wall of blockers, took the interception back for a touchdown.
The Panthers would quickly respond with their own score. Chance Kelley would get the touchdown on a two yard run. On the Leopards next possession, quarterback Rashaan Donelson would be intercepted by Johnathan Edwards. Once again, Chance Kelley would capitalize on the turnover and find himself standing in the end zone. The Panthers would take a 14 – 6 lead into the second quarter.
The next three possessions would find the Panthers punting back to Liberty Eylau as North Lamar could only gain 11 yards on 13 plays during those drives. The Leopards would take advantage of each defensive stop as they scored the next three times they had the ball.
With 6:55 left in the third quarter, Liberty Eylau now had a 28 – 14 lead and seemed ready to run away with the ball game. Whatever momentum the Panthers had in the first quarter had seemingly disappeared. The Panthers needed take control again. As they seem to have done all year long, the North Lamar squad responded.
Austin Anthony led the Panthers on a 15 play, 79 yard drive that would result in a North Lamar score. With 14 seconds left in the quarter and the ball on the Leopards 14 yard line, Kelley took the handoff from Anthony and scampered into the end zone. The extra point was missed by the Panthers so Liberty Eylau now had an eight point lead.
The defense would come up huge in the fourth quarter for the Panthers. Having not stopped Liberty Eylau since the first quarter, the Panthers would step up when it mattered. The Leopards went backwards on the next possession and lost four yards in three plays. The key play of the series was Tanner Wagoner sacking the Liberty Eylau quarterback on third down.
After receiving the punt the Panthers took the ball towards midfield. Facing a third down and ten, Anthony dropped back for a pass. As he was releasing the ball, Austin was hit from the behind by the defensive end. The hit caused the ball to come out of his hand weird and Anthony’s pass was intercepted by Jalen Hindie. Hindie took the interception back to the 21 yard line of the Panthers.
Once again, the defense was asked to step up and for the second straight series they did. With only 21 yards to go and just over six minutes left in the game, the Panthers defense caused the Leopards to lose yards on all four plays, setting up an epic conclusion.
The Panthers took the ball over on downs with a little over four minutes remaining in the game. Needing eight points to tie, Anthony did what he’s done all season long. He marched his team down the field. Whether it was handing the ball off to Chance Kelley or hitting Grant Kilcrease for 15 yards, Anthony looked calm as he ran the offense. With time ticking off the clock, the Panthers were moving closer and closer to the end zone. Finally with 31 seconds left, Kelley found the end zone once again.
Down by two, the Panthers had to try a two-point conversion. With no more timeouts, they lined up at the three yard line. They sent two receivers wide left and had Kelley in the back field. Austin hands the ball off to Chance and he tries to hit the hole on the left side of the offensive line. He pushes his way forward but is stacked up by the defense at the goal line. The referee blows his whistle and comes running in towards the play. The whole stadium is waiting for the signal. Was it good? Did he cross the goal line? The referee starts waving his hands. “No good. No good,” the Liberty Eylau radio broadcasters are yelling.
The Panthers are trying to argue that Chance crossed the goal line while the Liberty Eylau bench is celebrating a victory. North Lamar tried an onside kick but the Leopards gobbled it up. After a kneel down, the game was over. The Panthers fell to 3 – 4 (1 -1 in district) while Liberty Eylau was 3 – 4 (2 – 0 in district). Next week the Panthers will take on Atlanta at R.L. Maddox stadium.
North Lamar 14 0 6 6–26
Liberty Eylau 6 14 8 0–28
Liberty Eylau – Davion Hall 80 yard interception return (kick missed), 0-6, 8:57
North Lamar – Chance Kelley 2 yard run (Mario Smith kick), 7-6, 6:51
North Lamar – Chance Kelley 1 yard run (Mario Smith kick), 14-6, 0:55
Liberty Eylau – Tevin Diecklaus 27 yard run (Davion Hall run), 14-14, 9:41
Liberty Eylau – Davion Hall 52 yard pass from Rashaan Donelson (kick missed), 14-20, 6:59
Liberty Eylau – Davion Hall 28 yard run (Kentrun Pemberton run), 14-28, 6:59
North Lamar – Chance Kelley 14 yard run (kick missed),20-28, 0:14
North Lamar – Chance Kelley 1 yard run (run missed), 26-28, 0:30
|TEAM STATS||North Lamar||Liberty Eylau|
Passing: Austin Anthony 41 yards
Rushing: Chance Kelley - 178 yards, 4 TDs; Austin Anthony - 59 yards; Ian Dukleth – 24 yards; Johnathan Edwards –3 yards
Receiving: Dreyton McCarthy – 15 yards; Grant Kilcrease – 15 yards; Ian Dukleth – 11 yards
Passing: Rashaan Donelson – 79 yards, 1 TD
Rushing: Davion Hall – 56 yards, 1 TD; Mathew Sellers – 50 yards; Tevin Diecklaus – 49 yards, 1 TD;
Receiving: Davion Hall – 79 yards, 1 TD