By Allen Hamrick
The Panthers have proven themselves once again as a team that you should never give up on. They traveled to Roane County High School on Friday night to take on the Raiders, and what a game! Covid-19 made an impact on the crowds, but on the field, it was dig in and get dirty. The Panthers were coming off their first win of the season against Philip Barbour and had good momentum, and the Raiders were coming off a first season loss. However, this game is one of those games that is similar to the old days of Cowboys vs. Redskins or the Vikings and the Bears; no matter what their record was, the game was always played on a different level. This season players and coaches honored Alex Miller before the game in the middle of the field with both sides getting a pep talk from the coaching staff. Once that was over, it was all football.
This game was called an ugly win or an ugly loss by some, but through my lens, I saw two defenses stop any chance for a one sided game. The Raiders came out charging straight through the Panther defense and scored early in the game. It looked as though last week’s win wouldn’t be a repeat for the Panthers, but there was plenty of time left. The Panther offense was definitely having its issues getting the ball down field, but they managed to crack the plain and scored towards the end of the 1st quarter. The Raiders also added another score on a interception return making the game 8-14 Raiders at the end of the 1st quarter. Then it was as though both defenses shut down any more scoring until the 4th quarter.
There were times when the Panthers had opportunities to score but couldn’t catch a break. In one instance, the defense picked up a fumble near the 15 yard line and ran it in only to be called back because a ref inadvertently blew the play dead. The Panther defense rearranged their strategy after they were ran over in the first quarter. That was the Raiders early Christmas gift courtesy of the Panther defense, but that was it, the defense closed the store on the Raiders run game and their air attack was all but shut down. The Panther defense did a great job on the line and in the back field picking off passes. It was as if the offense on both sides took a powder. It was looking like the game would go down as a loss for the Panthers as there was just over five minutes left to play. The Raiders had the ball near their own 15 yard line when the Panther defense put their football pants on and caused a fumble in the back field, giving the offense a chance to score. They went to work and gave the ball to Elijah Payton who ran it in, tying the game up. On the next play going for the two points, quarterback Grant Krajeski scrambled out of the box and threw a Hail Mary into the end zone and connected with #3, Dalton Anderson, to move the Panthers into the lead with just minutes left to play. That’s the way it ended with the Panthers winning by the score of 16-14.
On offense, it was Grant Krajeski going 13-32 for 225 yards and one TD. Elijah Payton had 23 carries for 97 yards. Caleb Atha had 42 yards receiving with one TD. Andrew Adkins had four catches for 105 yards. Dalton Anderson had five catches, 71 yards and a two point conversion.
On defense, it was Colton Casto pulling down eight tackles and one fumble recovery. Jacob Morton had a whopping ten tackles with six of those for a loss and one quarterback sack.
Taking the offensive player of the week title was #3 Dalton Anderson and on defense it was #60 Colton Casto and #54 Jacob Morton. The JV team also won big last Monday, defeating the Philip Barbour JV team by the score of 52-12.
Next week, the Panthers will play Hedgesville at 7 p.m. on September 18. Go Panthers!