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Panthers unable to exorcise Demons

The Georgiana Panthers were hoping for another region win at home against McIntosh, but the Demons pulled away in the second half for a 35-13 win.

Head coach Shane Smothers said focus might have been a problem.

“I thought we had a decent week of practice, and I thought we were focused on McIntosh, but I’ve heard a lot of talk about Sweet Water,” he said. “We did our best to take that and throw it out the door. I thought we were focused.”

Whether the Panthers were focused on McIntosh or not, the Demons got their attention early.

On the first drive of the game, McIntosh made a statement by converting a fourth-and-three from around the Georgiana 40-yard line.

Two plays later, the Demons hit a 43-yard bomb of a touchdown pass to go up 6-0.

Georgiana’s first possession ended in a punt, and Cortez Thomas returned the kick 70 yards for a touchdown.

The Panthers responded with a 36-yard run from LaJordan Crittenden, and Adones Peterson kicked the extra point to make it 14-7 with 1:38 in the first quarter.

Both defenses stepped up in the second period, and that’s how they went into the locker room.

“It seemed like any time we went down, it just knocked the air out of us,” Smothers said. “We were flat at halftime. There wasn’t even much excitement when the score was 14-13.”

The Panthers came out on the opening drive of the second half and went down the field.

Keyed by a long pass from Kevin Brogden to Tay Hamilton and a big roughing the passer penalty on third down, Crittenden punched in a two-yard touchdown run with 6:13 in the third quarter to make it 14-13.

From there, it was all McIntosh.

The Demons answered with a score to go up 20-13 and put the game on ice with two scores in the fourth quarter.

“We played some good ball and some not-so-good ball,” Smothers said. “We’re preaching about playing a four-quarter game.”

“We appreciate all the fans and the support, and we thought we had the potential to play lights-out, but maybe we just didn’t have enough respect for them,” he added. “I take this loss because I’m the head coach and this my team. Now we’ve got to start with a good film session on Sunday to begin preparing for next week.”