Luverne hands Georgiana 55-26 loss in season opener

Published 1:19 pm Sunday, August 29, 2010

Georgiana’s special teams provided a spark for the Panthers several times against the Luverne, but Georgiana was unable to hold off Luverne as the Tigers won 55-26 in the season opener.

Down 13-0 with 45 seconds left in the first quarter, junior Rickey Everett responded to the Tigers’ touchdown with a 70-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 13-6.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, that momentum didn’t last very long.

Georgiana trailed 33-6 late in the first half when it suddenly looked like they had a chance to put a few more points on the board before halftime.

De’Kendre Binion intercepted a Luverne pass and returned it to the Luverne 40-yard line with 40 seconds left to play before halftime, but an interception by Luverne’s Quez Watkins put an end to the threat 10 seconds later.

The Panthers trailed 47-6 when Mikal Grace recovered a fumble at Luverne’s 35-yard line with 9:02 to play in the game.

Three plays later, Everett punched the ball into the endzone for a touchdown.

The Panthers had two more big plays late in the game.

One came when Binion returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown with 1:41 to play, and he followed that act with a 40-yard touchdown run with just under a minute left to make the final margin 55-26.

“We’re still learning right now,” said head coach Shawn Gregory, who was making his official debut for the Panthers. “We’re going to have to simplify some things, but it’s good to find that out against a non-region opponent.”

“We’re also going to continue to take pride in our special teams because they played well tonight,” he added. “We’ve got to take that to all three phases of the game.”

Luverne head coach Les Sanders also commented on the Panthers’ perseverance.

“They never quit,” he said. “Coach Gregory has done a good job with that team so far, and they’re going to be a good team down the road.”