• 77°

Panthers defense withstands Millry Wildcats

Georgiana running back Cameron Longmire danced into the end zone untouched to give the Panthers what would become a permanent lead over Millry Friday night.

Georgiana running back Cameron Longmire danced into the end zone untouched to give the Panthers what would become a permanent lead over Millry Friday night.

For three quarters, only a single point separated the Georgiana Panthers from an early defeat at the hands of the No. 4 seed Millry Wildcats.

But a reenergized offensive line paved the way to 21 fourth-quarter points and a Panther 28-6 win over the Wildcats.

The first three quarters, on the other hand, saw three turnovers and a slew of penalties that kept Georgiana advancing a step forward while falling two steps back.

A tricky, option-heavy offensive scheme from Millry, helmed by quarterback Michael Manuel and running back Emmanuel Mitchell, kept the Panthers on their toes.

Georgiana head football coach Ezell Powell said that the tough three-quarter stalemate didn’t surprise him as much as his own offense’s ineptitude.

“As we watched [Millry] on field, they struggled getting things together early in the season,” Powell said. “Later in the season, they went from a spread to a two-tight end system, and when they went to that they became a better football team.  I was just a believer that if they’d done that from the beginning, they would’ve never been a No. 4 seed. 

“I knew we would have our hands full, but I didn’t think we would sputter offensively like we did.  Defense did a great job of holding them and keeping us in the ballgame tonight.  Then we sort of hit a point where the line said ‘hey, lets’ go.’ And we just started to run the football and we picked up big chunks of yardage, drove the ball and got it in the end zone.  And that’s how we really took control of the ballgame—the line did a good job up front of opening holes, and running backs did a great job of running it and getting the ball in the end zone.”

The extra push from the Panthers’ O-line allowed running backs Cameron Longmire and Derrick Johnson to break huge runs, which set up quarterback Jamichael Stallworth for a diving touchdown to end the Panthers’ two-quarter drought with 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

It was the Panthers’ defense who would score next, as Longmire blew up a Millry option, scooped up the fumbled ball and took it to the house more than 60 yards for the Panthers’ third score.

The final touchdown came on a speed sweep to receiver Christian Williams, who blew past the Wildcats defense untouched to seal the deal.

The win earns the Panthers a date with the Isabella Mustangs at home Friday.

“I’m excited, because any time you get to play in front of our home fans, it gives us a boost of energy and confidence,” Powell said. 

“I expect these guys to show up and be ready to play a football game again next week.”