Panthers nab first 3-0 start since 2000

Published 11:54 pm Friday, September 5, 2014

The Georgiana Panthers made history Friday night with a convincing 45-6 win over the Florala Wildcats, marking the first 3-0 start for the team since 2000.

But it would be impossible to tell after speaking to Georgiana head football coach Ezell Powell, who noted the team’s uncharacteristically poor start to the game.

“We won, but we played sloppy—we probably had 12 penalties for 150-plus yards,” Powell said.

“On the very first drive, we gave them 40 yards in penalties before they ever took a snap, and they ended up with the ball first and 10 on our 10 yard line.  It just couldn’t start out any worse than how it did.”

Despite the early score and the demoralizing start, the touchdown would be the first and last Florala score of the night as the Panthers regained their composure and mounted the signature high-powered offense that have outscored opponents 118-9 this season.

The Panthers more than 100 yards of offensive production from three separate players, including the dynamic duo of Alen Smith and Jacquez Payton.

“We did a good job in running the football, and we made some plays in the passing game.  We played tough and we didn’t give up a whole lot defensively,” Powell added.

“We just managed to settle down, play solid on defense, hold them out of the end zone, and we got things rolling and we ran away late.”

Despite the win, Powell’s cause for concern is justified—the next four games for Georgiana will prove the toughest stretch of the season for the team.

To top it all off, the Panthers face the 1A powerhouse Brantley Bulldogs to start the four-week trudge.

“The next four ball games will really let us know how far we’ve come this year,” Powell said.

“We have Brantley, McKenzie, Greenville and then Kinston, and those four are four good football teams.  They can play with us, so we’ll know how we come out of that record-wise and judge our season from that.”

Powell added that keeping his team’s momentum moving in a forward direction will also be his true test as a coach.

“We just have to understand that we can’t do those things,” Powell said.

“We didn’t do those things in the first two games, and for some reason tonight we were unfocused and we didn’t go into the ball game with that same intensity.  I’m hoping that our kids understand that if we go into the next four ball games with situations like this, we won’t come out victorious.

“Going out and working on the little things and trying to correct those things, and hopefully we’ll continue to have success as we move on down the road.”

The Panthers kick off the tough four-week stretch with Brantley at home Friday.