Georgiana shoots down Highland Home, 47-14

Published 2:03 pm Sunday, November 2, 2014

The coldest temperatures of the evening weren’t enough to cool off a red-hot Georgiana offense as the Panthers shot down the Highland Home Flying Squadron 47-14 for their seventh win of the season.

The win marks the first time the Panthers have finished a regular season with at least seven wins since 1996.

And though it was a offense-heavy night for Georgiana, it was the Panthers defense that made crossing the line of scrimmage a nightmare for the Squadron.

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But Highland Home found some reserve gas late in the second quarter, thanks to an interception brought down from a tipped pass courtesy of sophomore defensive back Logan Mansmann.

The turnover shifted momentum for the remainder of the drive, as the Squadron flew down the field on the legs of running back Kirkland Merriweather for Highland Home’s first score of the night with 2:45 remaining in the half.

Unfortunately, the majority of the damage had been done thanks to a high-powered Panthers offense, and Travales Smith punctuated a final first-half drive by flattening two Squadron defenders just shy of the goal line for Georgiana’s fourth score of the night to take a 27-6 lead at the half.

Georgiana head football coach Ezell Powell said that his team played as well as they had all year on both sides of the ball.

“Defensively, they played a heck of a ball game.  We gave up some big plays and they ended up with the 14 points, but other than that, I thought they did a stellar job all night long,” Powell said.

“Offensively, when we got the ball, we were able to run and throw, and do a mixture of things that kept them off balance.  Seniors played awesomely, and they’ll remember this win for a long, long time.”

Tight end Payton Frazier breathed life back into a dying Squadron offense in the third by coming down with a  catch for a massive gain, but Tarien Crittenden wrangled him to the ground and stripped the ball in one go, causing his second takeaway of the evening (in addition to an earlier interception).

“Inside linebackers did an excellent job of reading guards all night long.  It seemed like there were a bunch of times when you would’ve thought we knew the play because they were on it right before it could even get started,” Powell added.

“They believed in the game plan, and when they went out there and had some success with it, the confidence they did have went even higher and they just never looked back.”

Confidence will be a key ingredient as the Panthers head north to face second-seed Notasulga Friday in the first round of the playoffs.

And though Powell hasn’t finalized a game plan yet, it won’t deviate from what’s gotten the Panthers where they are.

“Right now, I’ve got to get a little film on them and watch them, but I think it’s going to be the same thing as with anybody else—run to the football, make tackles on defense, do a good job of blocking them up front on offense, running the football and play-actioning off of them,” Powell said.

“When we can do those things, we’re a tough team to play with.”