Panthers fall to New Brockton

Published 11:59 pm Friday, August 26, 2016

Georgiana running back Cameron Longmire outruns the New Brockton defensive front during the first quarter.

Georgiana running back Cameron Longmire outruns the New Brockton defensive front during the first quarter.

It was one step forward and two steps backward for Georgiana throughout much of the night as the Panthers fell in their home opener to the New Brockton Gamecocks 34-20.

But the Gamecocks found sure footing early with a kickoff return for a touchdown merely 15 seconds into the game.

Though the Panthers would quickly respond, thanks largely to an air attack from quarterback Jamichael Stallworth to Jamarcus Sims, a 7-6 nailbiter at the end of the half quickly grew out of control in the fourth quarter.

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“We shot ourselves in the foot,” said Georgiana head football coach Ezell Powell.

“It was 19-14 in the fourth quarter, and turnovers and mental errors down the stretch cost us the football game.”

But one of the more controversial calls of the night came on a New Brockton kickoff return.

“We kicked off, their guy fumbled the fair catch and we had an inadvertent whistle, according to the officials,” Powell said.

“So they ended up getting the ball back, and they went on to score again.  We just couldn’t turn it around after that point.”

Similar mistakes plagued the Panthers in the first half, with a penalty erasing a lengthy touchdown catch and run from receiver Christian Williams, as well as a goal line fumble that erased a second potential touchdown.

“We can’t fumble that ball down there on the goal line,” Powell said. “We can’t have holding penalties that gets us in the position that it did and negates the touchdown.

Like I said, we’re playing with a bunch of kids who are on the main stage for the first time this year, and they’ve just got to learn how to win when your back’s against the wall.

“But I’m not taking anything away from New Brockton.  They did a great job of executing, capitalizing on our mistakes and doing what they needed to do to when the ballgame.”

The Panthers face their first region test in Florala Friday at home, and Powell said that key to victory next week will lie in not dwelling on this week’s defeat.

“Sometimes you learn more in a loss than you do in a win,” Powell said. “We’re going to look at this film with a fine-toothed comb, correct our mistakes and just keep moving forward.”

The Panthers host the Florala Wildcats for their first region game of the year Friday at 7 p.m.