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Quinlan, Texas – With the North Lamar Panthers sitting at 1-3 and a bye week coming up it was important for the team to get a win on Friday night against Quinlan Ford. As a matter of fact, that might be an understatement. Coach Tommy Felty knew what a win would do for his team.
Last season, the Panthers faced a similar situation as they came into the game with Quinlan Ford 1-3. Austin Anthony hit Ian Dukleth for a game winning touchdown with less than a minute to play. The Panthers took that momentum and went on to finish with a 3-2 record in District and make the playoffs.
This year was a different team, but the results were the same as North Lamar defeated Quinlan Ford 38-24. There wasn’t any last minute touchdowns to win the game, however, there was an incredible display of passing between Senior Quarterback Jake Cowling and receiving crew. Cowling finished the night eight for 10 with 241 yards in the air and three touchdowns.
The most spectacular of the three coming in the final two minutes of the game to seal the victory. With the Panthers leading 31-24 and facing a third down and 11 from their own 14 yard line, Cowling hit Samaki Walker in stride at the 30 yard line. Walker weaved in and out of defenders and cut the ball back across the field as he scampered into the end zone for an 86 yard touchdown.
“[The play] was just a slant,” Cowling said of the play. “I threw it and I saw the [defender] break on it, and I thought oh he’s not going to make it. [Samaki] just sucked it in and the rest is just him.”
“We’ve never been known to throw it in that situation,” Coach Felty said after the game. “We just caught them sleeping.”
Perhaps the play of the game, though, isn’t on the offensive side of the ball. With the game being tied at 17 coming out of half-time, the Panthers kept the ball for a 13 play, 74 yard drive that ate up over seven minutes of game clock. Dakota Moore caught a pass from Cowling and ran the ball into the end zone for the Panthers as they took a 24-17 lead. Quinlan Ford scored on their next drive as Weston McCluskey ran 31 yards on the first play of the fourth quarter. With the game tied at 24, the Panthers defense locked down and didn’t allow Quinlan Ford to score again. The misdirection offense only gained 25 yards the rest of the game.
“We bent a lot and gave up some big plays, but when it was time to make a few [plays] we did and I was proud of them for that,” Coach Felty said after the game.
The Panthers will have two weeks to recover before they take the field again. After the bye week, the Panthers will begin district play at R.L. Maddox stadium against Pittsburg.
By: Greg Higgins, eParisExtra