Panthers remain perfect with OT win over Wildcats

Published 11:48 pm Friday, September 29, 2017

It wasn’t always pretty, but the Georgiana Panthers emerged from the dust of a knock-down, drag-out fight with a drastically improved St. Luke’s team to hold on to a 38-30 win in overtime.

With the win, the Panthers remain perfect with a 6-0 record.

Though the Panthers dictated the pace of much of the game—including the first half, which they exited with a comfortable lead—the St. Luke’s Wildcats refused to die.

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Fortunately, so did the Panthers.

The Panthers were a mere four yards away from sealing the deal as the final minutes melted off the clock when the Wildcats recovered a Georgiana fumble, drove nearly the length of the field and put a field goal through the uprights to send it to overtime.

Georgiana head football coach Ezell Powell said that, despite Murphy’s Law taking sudden effect in the game’s final seconds, his Panthers kept their cool.

“In overtime, I told them when we score, we’re not kicking an extra point.  We’re going to win the ballgame,” Powell said.

“We scored, and we went for 2 and got it.  Defense went up, and they did a heck of a job of holding them out of the end zone. We just didn’t quit. We fought our butts off all night long.  That young line got exposed a little bit tonight—they got beat at times, but they just didn’t quit.  They didn’t give up, and I was just extremely proud of this group of boys.”

Powell added that the experience of winning such a close game against such a strong opponent in such hostile territory would prove invaluable on the road ahead.

“I think the experience is going to be huge for all of us not only for the mistakes that happened in the ballgame that led to overtime, but also the way we had to fight in overtime to win it,” Powell said.  “All of that experience is going to be valuable when you’re talking about making a run to win a championship because you’re going to have to win ugly ballgames sometimes, and that’s a perfect example. 

“There were times in the ballgame where we were physically getting beaten, but we just didn’t quit.  We kept fighting and kept pushing and we made plays, and we allowed ourselves to be in a position to win the ballgame late.  I think it’s going to be key for us if we’re able to stay healthy and make a run for it.”

The Panthers move from one challenge to another Friday. Though back in the comforts of their own stadium, Georgiana must contend with potential distractions both on and off the field amid homecoming festivities.

“We have to stay focused and understand that homecoming is more for the spectators than us,” Powell said.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re in a position to do what we do on Friday night and winning another region ballgame.  If our goal is to go undefeated, then we’ve got to take care of the next game.”

The Panthers will host Red Level for homecoming Friday.  Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.