By Allen Hamrick
It was perfect weather for football this past Friday night as the CCHS Panthers took on the AAA Eagles of Hedgesville. This was at first thought to be a challenge for the Panthers after coming off a tough win last week against Roane County. Hedgesville cancelled a game with Point Pleasant to drive over four hours just to get their butts whipped by a team they obviously underestimated. A person almost felt sorry for them as they fell like timbers against the Panther chainsaw defense … again, almost. It was the Panthers’ home opener and also the night they bid farewell to the seniors who put in the time and hard work to make the Panther name a proud one over the last four years. There was no way a team should even think they can come onto Panther real estate on a special night and do anything but lose, no matter who they are or how far they travelled to get here.
Buzzards circled the field and had their sights set on the Eagles the whole game; they knew the end was four quarters away and just a matter of time. Straight out of the chute, the Panther defense went to work on the Eagles, and their front line caved in like an accordion. The Eagles had no running game as the Panthers closed every hole they planned to open. The quarterback looked more like a fleeing rooster with chicken hawks on his tail; the Panther defense simply didn’t let him breathe. It was a display of defense by the Panthers that should be an article in Sports Illustrated. The game was well coached and well executed by the players, and the Eagles never stood a chance. There were a ton of hurt feelings on the Eagle bench as the frustration mounted, and flags fell like confetti as the game become almost a feud.
On offense, the Panthers executed as if this was a championship game. One can’t say enough about the offensive line – they did a great job containing the Eagle defense, allowing for some good runs and giving Grant Krajeski the time he needed for his air show. At the half, both teams went to locker rooms to regroup with the score stood at 12-0 and the Panthers in the lead. However, the buzzards were circling lower towards the Eagle sideline.
The Eagles came out in the second half and were making a run for the end zone. But, the end zone may have as well been 500 yards away because they just couldn’t get it close enough to wrinkle the grass. They did get close once in the third quarter, but the Panthers held fast. It was like having a double bubba cheeseburger within your grasp but starving to death before you could reach it. The Panther offense didn’t slow down a bit as they chewed apart the Eagle defense by air and by land. When the buzzards finally got to land, they feasted on stewed Eagle with the final score settled at Panthers 35, Eagles 3.
Game highlights- Grant Krajeski went 25-37 for 233 yards and 3 passing TD’s. He had one interception, 3 carries for 30 yards. Elijah Payton carried the ball 21 times for 124 yards and 1 TD. Colton Pritt, Ethan Burkhammer and Dalton Anderson each had a touchdown pass. The defense gave up just 91 yards and had 9.5 sacks.
Grant Krajeski and Colten Pritt were players of the game on offense and on defense it was the whole defense that was players of the game. We want to thank the Eagles for driving so far to give the Panthers a game on a night that would have otherwise been idle with Hoover in the red zone. This game proved that the Panther defense and offense is among the best in the state. The Panthers will be at Liberty Raleigh this Friday evening barring any unforeseen circumstances. Be sure to check with the school for any details if the game would be cancelled.