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Paris – It took almost a full quarter on Friday night to realize you were sitting at R.L. Maddox stadium watching the North Lamar Panthers take on Liberty-Eylau in a huge District 13-3A matchup. North Lamar, known for their power running game, came out and completely shocked everyone as they ran a new offense.
“It widens the field,” Coach Tommy Felty said about his new offense. “[It] doesn’t let them all get in the box; lets us get some playmakers the ball. Other than just Keitron [Reed]. It take some pressure off of him.
The new offense Felty was referring to was the spread offense where most of the night quarterback Jacob Cowling was alone in the back field and had five receivers out. One of those receivers would go into motion and Cowling would either hand the ball off to him, keep it for a run, or pass the ball.
Despite the 34-24 loss on Friday night to Liberty-Eylau, the Panthers caught them completely off guard with the new-look offense. North Lamar’s first offensive play ended in an interception after a pass from Cowling to the intended receiver was deflected. The defensive back, Davion Hall picked the ball off. Hall is a senior that has the ability to make plays when he touches the ball. He’s committed to Baylor University to play football there.
“He’s been making plays since he was a sophomore,” Coach Felty added about Hall.
After the initial interception, the Panthers scored on their next three possessions. They also scored in a hurry too. The Panthers put together touchdown drives of 58 and 77 yards that only took four and three plays respectively. North Lamar opened up there own scoring when Devin McDonald broke through the line for a 36 yard run. The next possession for North Lamar ended with a 74 yard pass play from Cowling to McDonald. Walker caught the ball on a quick pass and he did the rest as he made defenders miss and he out-ran everyone on his way to the end zone.
After the initial blow of the spread offense, Liberty-Eylau was able to regroup and start putting up numbers as well. With North Lamar up 17-12, the Leopards gave the ball to their senior standout and let him do the rest. Hall would take a direct snap and scamper 19 yards through the Panthers’ defense and find his way in the end zone.
The two teams traded points back and forth and with the Panthers trailing 28-24, their defense would hold the high-powered offense off the scoreboard and get the ball back to the offense with just under six minutes left in the game. This scenario seemed like Deja-vu for North Lamar fans. Last year, in Texarkana, the Panthers trailed 28-20 and put together a 73 yard scoring drive at the end of the game. With the score 28-26, Chance Kelley‘s two-point conversion try came up just short and the Leopards got the victory.
This year, it would be a little different story, though, as the Panthers couldn’t march down the field. Facing a 4th and two from their own 33 yard line, North Lamar was flagged for a motion penalty and the Panthers were unable to convert a 4th and seven. It’s hard to swallow a loss like this. North Lamar was the underdog and Coach Felty’s team put themselves in a great position to win the ball game. Afterwards, Felty praised his team on the efforts and how hard they played.
North Lamar will travel to Atlanta next week to face the Rabbits. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.