Panthers earn shut out victory over Dodge County

Published 1:09 pm Monday, October 16, 2023

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AMERICUS – For almost a full half of football, neither the Sumter County Panthers (SCHS) nor the Dodge County Indians (DC) could put any points on the board. For just about the entire first half, both offenses struggled to move the ball, as both defenses were making plays. However, the Panthers were able to get a touchdown late in the first half, a safety in the third quarter and another touchdown in the fourth to earn a 17-0 victory over the Indians on Friday evening, October 13, at Alton Shell Stadium.

The win puts the Panthers at 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the GHSA Region 1-AA standings.

“Sometimes the defense struggles and offense steps it up and visa versa. Tonight, we just leaned on each other and we found a way to win,” SCHS Head Coach Will Rogers said.

Dodge County won the toss, but deferred to the second half, meaning that the Panthers would get the ball to start the game. On the kickoff, the Indians tried a squib kick that was tough for the Panthers to handle, but they were able to recover the ball at their own 27-yard line. The Panthers weren’t able to gain the necessary yardage on their first two downs, but on third down from the 27, quarterback Anthony Tyson gained the necessary yardage on a quarterback keeper. However, the drive bogged down and SCHS was forced to punt the ball away to the Indians.

On DC’s first possession of the game, the SCHS defense was able to force the Indians to punt and the SCHS offense had the ball in good field position.

On the Panthers’ next possession, the offense struggled to move the ball again and was forced to punt. However, the Indians turned the ball over when the SCHS defense forced a fumble and it was recovered by Broshawn Snead. However, the SCHS offense was not able to cash in on the turnover, as the Panthers were stopped on third down and were forced to punt. By the end of the first quarter, the score was still tied at 0-0.

Early in the second quarter, the Panthers were mounting a drive, thanks to the running attack of Quay’Shaun Tatum. However, DC forced and recovered a fumble that snuffed out the drive.

Both offenses continued to struggle moving the football for much of the first half, but the SCHS defense continued to make plays, getting the ball back to the offense. With a little over five minutes left in the first half, the Panthers were able to generate a sack on fourth down. However, the offense once again could not get anything going and the Panthers were forced to punt the ball back to DC.

Nevertheless, the defense of the Panthers continued to keep the Indians off the score board.

Near the end of the first half, SCHS was able to put together another promising drive. Then on second down and 10 from the DC 23, Tyson connected with Corderian Leverett for a 23-yard touchdown pass. The Indians were flagged for an off side penalty on the extra point try, so the Panthers decided to go for two. They succeeded with the two-point conversion, as A.J. Kearse ran the ball into the end zone. By halftime, the Panthers enjoyed an 8-0 lead.

The Indians received the ball to start the second half, but couldn’t mount a scoring drive and were forced to punt. The first few minutes of the second half between both teams were much like those of the first half. Neither offense could get a scoring drive going and both defenses were making plays, nullifying those drives.

However, near the end of the third quarter, the Panthers began to mount another drive led by the running attack of Ja’Kory Wise and Quay’Shaun Tatum. Then on third down and three at the DC 48, Tatum broke through the DC defense and ran the ball all the way down to the DC seven yard line. Unfortunately for the Panthers, Tatum’s run was nullified due to a holding penalty. A couple of plays later, a personal foul penalty was assessed against the Panthers, pushing the ball all the way back to the SCHS 48. Just when it looked as if the Panthers were going to score another touchdown, self-inflicted penalties nullified the drive and they were eventually forced to punt.

However, the ensuing punt landed down around the DC one-yard line, giving the Indians awful field position. Then on first down from the one, Broshawn Snead was able to sack the DC quarterback in the end zone for a safety. Just like that, the Panthers had a 10-0 lead.

With a little over five minutes remaining in the game, the Panthers had the ball and were using their ground game to try and run out the clock. With 4:02 left in the game, SCHS had the ball fourth and one at the DC 18, but an encroachment penalty on the Indians gave the Panthers and automatic first down. On the very next play, Wise was able to score a rushing touchdown from 10 yards out. The extra point by Alan Gonzalez was good and the Panthers would go on to win by the score of 17-0.

SCHS will travel down to Fitzgerald, GA on Friday, October 20, to take on the Purple Hurricanes of Fitzgerald High School. Kickoff for Friday’s game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.