Panthers earn shutout No. 2 against Tigers

Published 11:47 pm Friday, October 13, 2017

A McKenzie-Georgiana stalemate collapsed in the second quarter as 22 quick Panther points set Georgiana on the path to a 58-0 win over their in-county nemesis.

strike for the Panthers’ first score.

Georgiana head football coach Ezell Powell said that the slow start was partially self-inflicted, as a number of starters sat out the first quarter for disciplinary reasons.

“You’re dealing with kids,” Powell said. “And no matter how you look at it, kids do boneheaded things sometimes.  And when they do, they have to understand that there are repercussions behind it.”

The Panther offense turned things around at the top of the second with its gutsiest call of the night on a fake punt—running back Lecedric Haynes lunged forward to pick up a crucial first down deep in the Panthers’ own territory.

Fellow running back Kyle Powell bowled over the McKenzie front line for the Panthers’ to move the chains to midfield, where quarterback Jamichael Stallworth and company began to take to the skies.

A pair of Christian Williams catches set up fellow receiver Chris Mixon for a 14-yard

The kinks in the offense

Linebacker Jamarcus Sims reeled in an interception to give the Panthers excellent starting field position at the Tigers’ 49-yard line.

Mixon cleared 46 of the 49 yards with an incredible diving catch to put the Panthers at the 3-yard line, where Stallworth punched it in for another Panther score.

A nimble 25-yard sprint down the sideline from Williams set up Stallworth for another run-in touchdown just seconds before the half.

Williams’ big night continued immediately after the half with a 54-yard touchdown reception that put the game further out of reach and gave Georgiana a 28-0 lead with 11:16 remaining in the third.

The elusive Williams highlighted a major problem for McKenzie head football coach Tony Norris that would have to be solved moving forward.

“We’ve just got to get better tackling in space,” Norris said.

“In the second quarter, they got the ball rolling a little bit, and we’ve got to be able to control the ball and control the clock—that’s our whole goal.”

Big plays would define much of the second half for the Georgiana offense as a 30-yard touchdown run from Haynes and a 22-yard touchdown reception from Jecary Brewer would put the game further away.

Though it was the Panthers’ defense, and not their offense, that Powell was most proud of.  The Panthers’ second consecutive shutout was indicative for him that the 8-0 Panthers are still finding ways to improve.

“When it starts getting late in the season, you’ve got to be ironing out some of the mistakes you made earlier in the year,” he said.

“And it’s starting to show—that’s why we have two shutouts in a row, because we’re starting to correct some of those defensive mistakes and close those holes that we left open earlier in the season that allowed people to get long yardage.”

Those lessons come at a good time, as the Panthers will face one of the most honest and direct offenses they’ve seen all season in the Pleasant Home Eagles next week.

“Pleasant Home wants to smash that football right at you, and if we’re out of position and not playing how we should up front, we could be in for a long night,” Powell said.

McKenzie will face a Red Level team that is still in search of its first win.

Though Norris said that the McKenzie Tigers are of more concern than the Red Level Tigers.

“We’re going to focus on us,” Norris said.

“We’re going to go back to work on Monday and try to get better,”

Both McKenzie and Georgiana will travel Friday to face their next region opponents in Red Level and Pleasant Home respectively.  Kickoff for both games is set for 7 p.m.