Georgiana improves to 10-0 with Houston County win

Published 6:36 pm Saturday, October 22, 2016

Adversity has been the name of the game for the Georgiana Panthers, as a tough battle with the Houston County Lions proved Friday night.

But a perfect diamond emerged from the pressure as the Panthers secured its 10th win on the season with a second-half 43-24 comeback win over the Lions.

Georgiana head football coach Ezell Powell said that it was a lackadaisical Panthers’ defense that let the Lions creep into a halftime lead, but that same defense proved resilient in the second half of play.

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“We played great in the first quarter, but it looked like we went to sleep in the second quarter,” Powell said. “We gave up too many big plays, and we put ourselves in a position where we were down 24-21 at the half.

“And we responded in the second half. Defense played outstandingly and we controlled the line of scrimmage in the second half to end up winning the ballgame.”

The second-half turnaround is the second in three weeks for the Panthers, with the first coming against the McKenzie Tigers two weeks ago.

“At first, I was a little bit more stern than I was with the McKenzie game because I was hoping that we’d sort of gotten that out of our system,” Powell said.

“But we talked, and we let them talk among themselves. And I came back and told them to relax, and that they couldn’t do anything about the first half—it’s over and done with. Champions prove themselves when they get the opportunity. We have the opportunity to show why we’re the champions in this region, so let’s go out and do it. And they did.”

The Panthers largely got it done in the second half by establishing the run game and by playing assignment football, according to Powell.

But moments of adversity have come to define the Tigers’ path to a perfect season.

From the power outage in Loachapoka that postponed the game to the following day to New Brockton’s loss, which was eventually ruled a win due to a forfeiture for fielding an ineligible player, the road to a 10-0 season hasn’t been pretty or easy.

But Powell said that his team is better for it.

“The playoffs will tell, but each time it happens I’m a firm believer that it makes you better,” Powell said.

“When you’re able to overcome situations like that and win, it gives you confidence that you can do it. So when we were down, that’s what I talked to them about. You’ve done this before, so let’s go out and do it again.”

As it currently stands, the Panthers will face the Millry Wildcats in the first round at home in two weeks.