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Atlanta – Coming into Friday’s District 13-3A matchup with Atlanta, the North Lamar Panthers had been outscored 20-0 in the fourth quarter during their previous two district games. Those struggles continued on Friday night in a 55-28 loss to the Atlanta Rabbits.
After taking a 28-27 lead early in the fourth quarter, Atlanta would go on to score 28 unanswered points en route to the blowout victory.
“We haven’t played good in the fourth quarter in three weeks,” Coach Felty said after the loss. “That seems to be where we fall apart and I don’t know why that is.”
The numbers back up his statement too. After Friday, in their three losses, they have been outscored 48-7 in the final 12 minutes of the ball game. Atlanta racked up 184 yards in the fourth quarter alone against the Panthers’ defense, which was nearly a third of their total output for the game. Atlanta had 564 total yards; all of which came on the ground against the Panthers.
“We didn’t stop them,” Felty said. “We didn’t execute as well as we did a week ago, either.”
The game started out perfectly for the Panthers, though. North Lamar had a 14 point lead while Atlanta had run one offensive play of the game. After getting the opening kick off, North Lamar went three and out and lost nine yards. Atlanta got the ball back and, on their first play, threw an interception to Panthers’ defensive back Devin McDonald. North Lamar drove down the field and capitalized as Jacob Cowling punched it in for a touchdown.
The ensuing kick off was muffed by Atlanta and North Lamar recovered on the Atlanta 38 yard line. Again, capitalizing on the mistakes, Cowling scored another touchdown. North Lamar held a 14-0 lead going into the second quarter. Atlanta quickly bounced back and tied the game at 14 when Eddrick King scored for the Rabbits.
The first play on the next drive for the Panthers was a 67 yard touchdown pass from Cowling to Samaki Walker. Atlanta would tie up the score before halftime at 21 and everyone in the stadium didn’t know what to expect in the second half. Both teams had moved the ball and both teams had come up with key defensive stops when they needed it.
The second half was a different story, however as North Lamar couldn’t stop Atlanta. The Rabbits were able to move the ball at will as they bounced off defenders on their way to the end zone. The North Lamar defense struggled with wrapping up the offense and making the tackle and it eventually hurt them. North Lamar moves to 0-3 in the District and their chances of returning to the playoffs are slowly disappearing. Next week, the Panthers will host Paris High in the Crosstown Showdown. Kickoff is set for 7:30 at R.L. Maddox Stadium.