- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
By: GREG HIGGINS
Sometimes reading a box score doesn’t give you the full picture of what happened during a ball game.
For instance, take North Lamar’s 28-13 victory over Bonham on Friday. If you read the box score, you’ll see that North Lamar gave up 101 yards passing to Bonham.
The Warriors also had 234 yards rushing against the Panthers defense. Dra Smith, the Bonham Junior quarterback had 175 of those yards.
As a matter of fact, of the 335 offensive yards Bonham had, Smith factored in 276 of them. Going into the game, Coach Felty said his defense had to contain the Bonham quarterback.
Looking at the statistics, one could argue that the North Lamar defense did not do what Felty had hoped. However, if you saw the game you would know statistics don’t always tell the story.
Coach Clark, the defensive coordinator for North Lamar said his defense is more “bend don’t break” and this was evident on Friday night. For most of the night, Dra Smith and Bonham seemed to move the ball with ease between the 20’s. The Panthers, though, clamped down defensively when they had to.
The Panthers took the opening kickoff and marched 55 yards for a touchdown. On the sixth play of the drive, running back Chance Kelley took a handoff from quarterback Austin Anthony and ran 40 yards for the score. Mario Smith added the extra point, making it 7-0 Panthers.
Bonham took the ball down the field on their opening drive as well. However, the Panther defense would come up big. Bonham got inside the 20 yard line of North Lamar and were threatening to score with the ball at the 14 when running back Kenton Manis was tackled for a 9 yard loss.
Facing a 4th and 3 from the 7 yard line, Bonham elected to go for it. Dra Smith would be tackled at the line of scrimmage and North Lamar would take over on downs.
After the Panthers were forced to punt on their next possession, Bonham took over at their own 20. Once again Dra Smith marched the Warriors down the field.
Again, they were faced with a 4th and 3, but this time they were at the 31 yard line of North Lamar. Smith kept the ball and this time the Panthers tackled him for a one yard loss.
The Panthers would capitalize on the defensive stand. Once again it was the sixth play of the drive that produced the score.
Anthony handed the ball off to Ian Dukleth, and 41 yards later, Ian was standing in the end zone for another Panther touchdown. The extra point was pushed wide by Mario Smith but the Panthers now had a 13-0 lead.
After a personal foul penalty on the kickoff, the Warriors started the next drive on their own 27 yard line. Dra Smith drove the Warriors down the field and the Panthers defense would do it again. Facing a 3rd down and 18 yards from the North Lamar 24 yard line, Smith dropped back to pass. He rolled to his right and fired up the field, but the pass was intercepted by Dukleth.
Both teams would be forced to punt on their next possessions and North Lamar would get the ball back close to midfield with a minute left to go in the half. Instead of being conservative, the Panthers came out looking for more points.
Just as he did against Commerce the week before, wide receiver Samaki Walker would make another catch over a defender. The Panthers found themselves at the 2 yard line. The Panthers would try to punch it in the end zone but the Warriors stopped them each time.
After a holding penalty gave North Lamar a first down at the 1 with 12 seconds left, they opted to run Chance Kelley even though they had no more timeouts. Kelley didn’t reach the end zone and the clock would run out before another play could be run.
The Panthers would force Bonham to punt on their first possession of the second half. The Warriors would see a steady dose of Chance Kelley on this drive and they would find themselves at the 1 yard line. Anthony would score on a quarterback keeper, and Chance would run the ball in for the two point conversion, making the score 21-0 in favor of North Lamar.
After three and out, the Warriors were forced to punt again. Dra Smith, who also serves as the punter, bobbled the snap and was forced to run with it.
The Panthers were able to stop him and would take over at the 30 yard line of Bonham. Three plays later, Ian Dukleth would scamper 20 yards into the end zone for another Panther touchdown. With just over 3 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, the Panthers were up 28-0.
Bonham wasn’t going away quietly, though. Dra smith took little time in marching his team down the field. This time, though, North Lamar wouldn’t be able to stop the Warriors as Smith would eventually score on a 16 yard run. The Panthers would take a 28-7 lead into the final quarter.
Both teams would trade possessions until the Warriors took over near midfield with about 8 minutes left in the game. It only took two plays for the Warriors to find the end zone as the quarterback would break away for a 32 yard touchdown. The extra point attempt was missed by Juan Green and the score was now 28-13 with 7 minutes left.
The Panthers were forced to punt again after another 3 and out. Bonham would get the ball at the 33 of North Lamar. The Warriors would move the ball to the 10 and face a first and goal situation. After an 11 yard sack of Smith, and a chop block penalty, Bonham had a 4th and goal from the 30 yard line.
Dra Smith’s pass would be incomplete and North Lamar would take over on downs. A quick 3 and out gave the ball back to Bonham with 2 minutes left to go. As it did all night, though, the defense came up huge once more.
This time facing a 3rd down play, Panthers defensive lineman TJ Williams sacked the Bonham quarterback for an 11 yard loss. Smith would throw an incomplete pass to end the drive, and allowing the Panthers to take a knee to end the game.
“We needed to get that,” Coach Felty said after the game about his team getting their first win of the season. “We’ve got some young kids that have never been on a Friday night field, so that’s a first victory on a Friday night for them.”
Hopefully this win is something the Panthers can build on and take into the game next Friday night at Canton. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30.