Panthers lose to Westover…game marred by fight
Published 3:14 pm Saturday, August 26, 2023
ALBANY – With 11:27 to go in the game, the Sumter County Panthers were trailing the Westover Patriots 28-18. At that point, a fight between the players of both teams broke out.
One fan tried to get in on the act by running on to the field and he was quickly arrested by the police. For several minutes, the officials gathered together to discuss who would be ejected, as multiple personal fouls were called against both teams.
Eventually, play would resume, but the Panthers (0-2) would go on to lose to the Patriots 30-18.
“We’ve got to basically control the controlables,” SCHS Head Coach Will Rogers said. “I mean some stuff happened and we’ve got to do a better job of handling it. We’ve got to get back to work next week during this off week and get after it really hard and make some improvements.“
Sumter County won the coin toss and elected to receive. The Panthers immediately orchestrated a long drive deep into WHS territory by using the running attack of Ja’Kory Wise. Then on second and seven from the Patriots’ 17, Wise ran the ball down to the nine-yard line. Then a couple of plays later, Wise scored the opening touchdown from three yards out with 9:01 to go in the first quarter. The extra point was no good, but the Panthers had a 6-0 lead.
Later on in the first quarter, the SCHS offense could not muster a drive on offense and SCHS was forced to punt. However, Jorge Gonzalez, the Panthers’ punter, dropped the snap and the ball was recovered by the Patriots at the SCHS one-yard line. A couple of plays later, WHS running back Adrian Rodgers ran the ball into the end zone for the tying touchdown. Instead of kicking the extra point, the Patriots decided to go for two, but the play was stopped by the Panthers’ defense.
The score remained 6-6 for the remainder of the first quarter, as it remained a defensive struggle. However, with a little more than seven minutes left before halftime, the Panthers had the ball on their own 34-yard line. On third down and one form the SCHS 34, quarterback Anthony Tyson faked a hand off and ran the ball down into WHS territory. A few plays later, Keaston Taylor broke through the Patriots’ defense and ran the ball 30 yards for an SCHS touchdown. The Panthers decided to go for two on the play, but Tyson’s pass was incomplete and SCHS had a 12-6 lead with 6:45 left before halftime.
A few minutes later in the second quarter, SCHS was able to move the ball down into WHS territory. On fourth down and eight from the WHS 39, the Panthers decided to go for it, but Tyson’s pass fell incomplete and the Panthers turned the ball over on downs with a little over four minutes to go before the half. This gave the Patriots time to mount a scoring drive, but the SCHS defense was able to force a fourth down situation and the Patriots had to punt.
With 3:36 to go, the Panthers had another chance to mount a scoring drive, as they had the ball on the WHS 19-yard line. However, the WHS defense stifled the Panthers’ offense and SCHS was forced to punt the ball back to the Patriots.
On Gonzales’s ensuing punt, the Patriots did not return and the ball and it went all the way down to the Patriots’ 16-yard line. This put WHS in poor field position and the Panthers were able to stifle the drive and close out the half with a 12-6 lead.
The Patriots got the ball to start the second half and they were able to move the ball into SCHS territory to a strong run from running back Adrian Rogers. Rogers then moved the ball down inside the Panthers’ 25-yard line, but a holding penalty against the Patriots moved the ball back. A couple of plays later, Rogers ran the ball down to the SCHS 12-yard line. A couple of plays later, WHS quarterback Keyon Thomas scored on a quarterback keeper, tying the score at 12-12. However, the Panthers’ special teams came up big by blocking the extra point. With 8:48 to go in the third quarter, the score was tied at 12-12.
On the Panthers’ next possession, Tyson was able to gain significant yardage on a quarterback keeper and SCHS was able to move the ball into WHS territory at the WHS 48-yard line. A few plays later, the Panthers were able to move the ball down to the WHS 15. A couple of plays later, Ja’Kory Wise scored his second touchdown of the night from a yard out. The two-point try failed, but the Panthers were back on top 18-12.
On the next WHS possession, the Panthers were flagged for a pass interference penalty and the ball was put down at the SCHS 45-yard line. A couple of plays later, Thomas threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Deantoine Denson. The Patriots tried to go for two and succeeded, thus putting the Panthers behind for the first time, as they trailed 20-18.
On the Panthers’ next possession, they were forced into a fourth down situation and decided to go for it on fourth down. However, the fourth down try failed and SCHS was forced to turn the ball over on down, giving the Patriots excellent field possession.
On the Patriots next possession, they struck with another big play as Thomas threw a long touchdown pass to Montavis Jones. The two-point try was good and the Panthers found themselves trailing 28-18 with 11:27 to go in the game.
However, the game was brought to an abrupt halt when a fight broke out between the players of both teams. One fan was arrested by Dougherty County police for running on to the field.
After the fight was over, both teams were separated and sent to their respective benches. At this point, officials gathered to discuss who amongst the teams would be ejected and whether the game would even continue. In the end, it was decided to resume play after a lengthy delay.
Once play resumed, the Panthers were able to move the ball down to the WHS 37-yard line. However, the Patriots’ defense forced another fourth down situation. Unfortunately for SCHS, they tried to go for it on fourth and eight but failed and had to turn the ball over on downs. This gave the WHS offense time to run some clock, as they led by two scores at 28-18.
Fortunately for SCHS, the defense was able to stop the Patriots on offense and the SCHS offense got the ball back with 7:51 to play. On the next SCHS possession, the Panthers moved the ball past midfield and into WHS territory. Then Corderian Leverette was able to move the ball down to the 30-yard line for a first down.
However, a holding penalty on the next play pushed them back. A few plays later, the Panthers faced a fourth and four situation, but quarterback Anthony Tyson was able to gain the necessary yardage on a quarterback keeper inside the 20-yard line.
However, a few plays later, the Panthers were forced with a fourth and 10 situation. This time, they could not convert and the ball went over to WHS on downs.
With a little less than four minutes left, the Patriots concentrated on running the clock and were aided by a personal foul penalty against the Panthers.
Eventually, SCHS would get the ball back, but with less than a minute remaining. The Patriots ended up forcing a safety on SCHS and the Panthers would go on to lose to
SCHS will be off next week, but will resume play when they host Crisp County in the “Battle of the Flint” on Friday, September 8. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.