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Panthers trounce Albany Indians 49-20

By MICHAEL MURRAY
and DOUG GOODIN

ALBANY – Following a home loss to the Thomas County Central Yellowjackets on Sept. 11, the Americus-Sumter (ASHS) Panthers hit the road on Sept. 18 to test their gridiron skills against the Albany High School Indians at Hugh Mills Stadium.
The Panthers grabbed their second victory of the season in the match, dealing a 49-20 defeat to the Indians. With the win, the Panthers’ overall record improves to 2-3.
ASHS received the first kickoff, and commenced to cap off a 12-play, 70-yard drive with an eight-yard run by Eric Brown into the end zone. Carlos Hernandez then tacked on the extra point with a spot-on kick to put the Panthers up 7-0.
The Indians responded with a three-play drive, highlighted by a 72-yard run into six-point territory, but missed the PAT to narrow the visiting team’s lead to 7-6.
One minute later, the Panthers struck again on their next possession with a 2-yard pass from Mekall Yancie that found AJ Payne in the end zone. Hernandez booted another PAT through the uprights to widen the gap to 14-6.
The Panthers’ luck continued near the 2:00 mark, when Jamarrion Johnson picked off a pass for a 72-yard return TD. The kick was good, padding the Panthers’ cushion at 21-6.
Early in the second period, the Panthers continued their streak when Kobe Lewis ended a six-play drive with a five-yard TD run and another Hernandez kick split the uprights.
Albany answered near the 8:00 mark, with a 34-yard run past the goal line, but the Panthers halted their attempt at a two-point conversion, holding the score to 28-12.
ASHS came back immediately with a seven-play drive spanning 91 yards that ended with Yancey’s pass finding Darion Tyson in the end zone. Hernandez’s kick once again sailed true, widening the gap to 35-12 where it would stay until the end of the half.
The third quarter was highlighted by another Panther interception that put them in position for another touchdown less than two minutes in. Near the end of the quarter, Yancie hit pay dirt again, finding a wide-open Payne, who brought down the pass and took of for a 69-yard touchdown. Hernandez nailed both PATs to bring the Panthers’ total to 49 points. Albany scored once more with two minutes left and ran in a two-pointer, leaving the score 49-20 at the buzzer.
The Panthers will have a well-deserved break on Sept. 25 before hosting the Bainbridge Bearcats on Oct. 2 in a match that is certain to bring fierce competition to Finklea-Robinson Field. Bainbridge, reportedly, will be bringing a hard-nosed offense that will likely keep the Panthers’ defenders on their toes throughout the game.
The Panthers will go on the road again on Oct. 8, returning to Albany to face the Westover Patriots.