North Lamar Comes Up Short in 33 - 28 Playoff Loss
By: GREG HIGGINS
COMMERCE – People all around the football world will tell you it’s hard to beat the same team twice in one year. The North Lamar Panthers found out just how hard this is on Thursday night in Commerce. The Panthers opponent for the night, Quinlan Ford, was someone North Lamar had already faced once this season.
On September 28th, Quinlan Ford came into R. L. Maddox stadium for Homecoming. During the game, the Panthers would find themselves trailing by nine going into the fourth quarter before rallying to win 37 – 33. It was Austin Anthony’s touchdown to Ian Dukleth that sealed the victory for North Lamar that night.
On Thursday night, the Panthers would find themselves in a similar position. Trailing by five with less than a minute in the game, the Panthers would need a score to keep their season alive. North Lamar had already battled back in the game. Quinlan Ford had taken a 33 – 21 lead with 2:05 left play. The Panthers season hung in the balance as quarterback Austin Anthony marched his team down the field for a quick score. Anthony hit Dreyton McCarthy on a 36 yard pass to take the Panthers from midfield down to the 16 yard line. Three plays later, Anthony passed to the corner of the end zone where Samaki Walker was standing. Samaki jumped up for the ball and it seemed to be knocked away by a Quinlan Ford defender. As the ball was dropping to the ground, though, Ian Dukleth snatched it out of the air for a North Lamar touchdown.
With 46 seconds left, the Panthers still needed a miracle to pull off the comeback. This time, the miracle showed up in the form of an onside kick. Kicker Mario Smith placed the ball right where he wanted to. It bounced up high and glanced off a Quinlan Ford player. There was a pile up and after the referees cleared the bodies off the field, it was determined North Lamar had recovered the onside kick. With the ball on the 40 yard line of Quinlan Ford, North Lamar was poised with confidence. The team that had shown all season long they could fight back was on the verge of doing it again. I can only imagine the thoughts going around inside the coach’s head for Quinlan Ford: “Not again” or “Are you kidding me?”
On this night, though, the comeback would come up a little short. Anthony took the next snap from Center Tanner Waggoner and dropped back to pass. He took a shot deep down the field but it was Garret Whitley, the Quinlan Ford cornerback that was there for his second interception of the game. After a couple of kneel downs, Quinlan Ford walked away with a 33 – 28 victory over North Lamar.
“The kids have played hard all year long,” Coach Felty said moments after the heartbreak loss. “They never give up, and they gave themselves an opportunity to make a play to win that thing.”
The running attack for Quinlan Ford seemed to give the Panthers problems all night. Quinlan Ford finished with 409 yards total offense, with 393 of those coming on the ground. They run a misdirection play that seemed to confuse the North Lamar defense at times. Taylor Sikorsky finished the night with 171 yards rushing, while 49 of them came on a touchdown run in the first quarter. Trailing 7 – 0 to North Lamar, Quinlan Ford had the ball at midfield when quarterback Kaden Wallace took the snap. He handed the ball to Sikorsky and then faked as if he was going to throw the ball. Sikorsky took the ball and cut outside. It seemed as if North Lamar had stopped him, but somehow he squeezed through the defense and broke away for 49 yards and a touchdown.
“They did a good job of whipping us up front offensively all night. We had trouble stopping them,” Coach Felty said. “They did a good job executing offensively, and we couldn’t stop them consistently.”
With the loss, the Panthers football season comes to an end. It’s not the end they were hoping for but it’s better than some people could have imagined. The Panthers finished second in the district. That’s a pretty good accomplishment for a team that some publications had finishing fifth before the season began.
Quinlan Ford 7 6 14 6–33
North Lamar 7 7 7 7–28
North Lamar — Chance Kelley 15 yard run (Mario Smith kick), 0-7, 10:50
Quinlan Ford – Taylor Sikorsky 49 yard run (Taylor Sikorsky kick), 7-7, 3:27
Quinlan Ford – Kaden Wallace 1 yard run (kick missed) 13-7, 1:25
North Lamar – Ian Dukleth 14 yard run (Mario Smith kick) 13-14, 0:01
Quinlan Ford – James Silkey 2 yard run (Taylor Sikorsky run) 21-14, 9:04
Quinlan Ford – Jon Humphries 9 yard run (kick missed) 27-14, 5:41
North Lamar – Ian Dukleth 8 yard run (Mario Smith kick) 27-21, 3:33
Quinlan Ford – James Silkey 4 yard run (James Silkey run no good), 21-33, 2:08
North Lamar – Austin Anthony 13 yard pass to Ian Dukleth (Mario Smith kick), 28-33, 0:45
|TEAM STATS||North Lamar||Quinlan Ford|
Passing: Austin Anthony 114 yards, 1 TD
Rushing: Chance Kelley - 158 yards, 1 TD; Ian Dukleth - 41 yards, 2 TD’s; Austin Anthony – 8 yards; Cody Edwards – 3 yards.
Receiving: Ian Dukleth – 64 yards, 1 TD; Dreyton McCarthy – 36 yards; Samaki Walker – 14 yards
Passing: Kaden Wallace 16 yards
Rushing: Taylor Sikorsky 171 yards, 1 TD; James Silkey 142 yards, 2 TD’s; Jon Humphries 82 yards, 1 TD; Kaden Wallace 1 yard, 1 TD;
Receiving: Taylor Sikorsky 16 yards