- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
By: GREG HIGGINS
Paris – If you were at RL Maddox stadium on Friday night and left at half time, you probably thought the game was over. The Atlanta Rabbits had dominated the game up until this point. The score board read 20 – 7 in favor Atlanta. They had 213 yards of offense to North Lamar’s 69. Time of possession was almost a two to one ratio as well. There was a sense at half time that the North Lamar Panthers were in trouble.
While the award-winning North Lamar marching band was on the field entertaining the crowd, Coach Tommy Felty and his staff were in the locker room with the players.
“We were our own worst enemy in the first half,” Felty said after Friday night’s game.
The Panthers had opportunities and couldn’t capitalize. After Ian Dukleth took their first kickoff return back to the 22 yard line of Atlanta, the Panthers would get the ball down to the one yard line. However, a false start penalty and a failed fourth down conversion would give the ball back to Atlanta.
The rest of the first half would be much of the same for the Panthers. It wasn’t until the last drive of the half that they found the end zone. Ian Dukleth took the handoff from quarterback Austin Anthony and scampered 21 yards into the end zone.
Momentum seemed to be changing at this point for North Lamar. However, Atlanta would take the next possession and go 61 yards in 22 seconds for another touchdown. Any momentum the Panthers seemed to have was now gone.
North Lamar entered Friday night’s action tied with Atlanta in District 13-3A. Both teams had split their first two games in District play. A win on Friday night would put either one of these two teams that much closer to the ultimate prize; a spot in the playoffs.
The Panthers are no strangers when it comes to playing from behind. Against Quinlan Ford, the Panthers found themselves down 33 – 24 going into the fourth quarter before coming back for the victory. Last week against Liberty Eylau, they were down 28 – 14. North Lamar would fight back and have a chance to tie the game at the end on a two-point conversion before ultimately coming up short. Hopefully the Panthers could take solace in this.
The Panthers received the second half kickoff from Atlanta and immediately they looked like a different team. It took only four plays for them to march 59 yards for a touchdown. This time, it was Chance Kelley “lighting up the scoreboard” as he scored on a 46 yard run.
As they have done in every game this year, the defense stepped up again when it needed to. Atlanta moved the ball down to the seven yard line and looked to regain control of the game. The Atlanta running back, Corion Webster, was given the ball and as he reached the goal line was met with stern opposition. As he was trying to push his way forward, Dukleth ripped the ball out of his hands and Keitron Reed fell on it at the one yard line.
North Lamar would go on a nine play, 99 yard drive, culminating with another Chance Kelley touchdown. The defense would step up again by forcing two consecutive three and outs from Atlanta. While the defense was doing its part, the offense continued to pound the ball. The offense racked up 272 yards in the second half and kept the ball for almost 17 minutes during that time.
What they could not do in the first half, was now coming easy for them in the second half. The adjustments that were made at half time seemed to work. The Panthers kept the Rabbits on their heels the entire second half. The defense of the Panthers was swarming as well. Atlanta only had 124 yards in the second half and 57 of them came on their final drive. North Lamar walked away from R.L. Maddox stadium on Friday night with a 35 – 26 win over Atlanta. More importantly, though, they walked away knowing they can overcome any obstacle.
As Coach Felty walked away from his post game speech with the team, T.J. Williams was leading the whole team in a “Let’s get fired up” chant. It sounded more like a team getting ready to go play a game rather than a team who just finished one. The pain from last week’s two point loss for now has been replaced by the feeling that this team believes in themselves and in each other.
North Lamar will take on cross town rival Paris High next Friday at 7:30.
North Lamar 0 7 14 14–35
Atlanta 7 13 0 6–26
Atlanta – Corion Webster 10 yard run (Chris Ibarra kick), 7-0, 4:43
Atlanta – *Running back #5 24 yard run (Chris Ibarra kick), 14-0, 2:57
North Lamar – Ian Dukleth 21 yard run (Mario Smith kick), 14-7, 1:00
Atlanta – Corion Webster 6 yard run (kick no good), 20-7, 0:27
North Lamar – Chance Kelley 46 yard run (Mario Smith kick), 20-14, 10:27
North Lamar – Chance Kelley 18 yard run (Mario Smith kick),20-21, 4:16
North Lamar – Austin Anthony 1 yard run (Mario Smith kick), 20-28, 10:56
North Lamar – Austin Anthony 1 yard run (Mario Smith kick), 20-35, 2:16
Atlanta – Chase Musgrove 1 yard run (pass incomplete), 26-35, 0:50
|TEAM STATS||North Lamar||Atlanta|
Passing: Austin Anthony 13 yards
Rushing: Chance Kelley - 221 yards, 2 TDs; Ian Dukleth – 73 yards, 1 TD; Austin Anthony - 37 yards, 2 TD’s; Cody Edwards –3 yards
Receiving: Cody Edwards – 13 yards
Passing: Chase Musgrove – 127 yards
Rushing: Corion Webster – 157 yards, 1 TD; Running back #5* – 33 yards, 1 TD; Alan Fonteneaux – 17 yards; Chase Musgrove – 3 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Davion Hall – Randall Clark – 79 yards; Quaid Taylor – 29 yards; Nick Stiger – 16 yards; Chris Anderson – 3 yards.
*Was not on the roster sheet handed out by Atlanta.