Panthers edge out Worth County in high-scoring affair
Published 5:21 pm Monday, October 30, 2023
From Staff Reports
AMERICUS – The Sumter County Panthers (SCHS) jumped out to a big lead and were able to hold on late, as they earned a 39-34 victory over Worth County (WCHS) this past Friday night at Alton Shell Stadium.
The win puts the Panthers at 5-4 overall and they are in third place in the GHSA Region 1-AA standings at 3-2.
Until Friday morning, October 27, the Panthers did have an extra victory on their record due to the fact that the GHSA ruled that Cook had to vacate five of its victories, including their 40-14 victory over Sumter County, because they were using an ineligible player.
However, according to a report issued on www.highschool.si.com, Alapaha Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Clay Tomlinson entered a 30-day restraining order Friday morning preventing the GHSA from declaring Cook football player Jarvis Kyree Fuller ineligible and forcing Cook to vacate five of its wins, including the one over Sumter County.
In other words, the restraining order allows the Hornets to keep those wins, meaning that the Panthers will remain at 3-2 in GHSA Region 1-AA play. They are currently tied with Worth County in the region at 3-2, but they are right now the third seed in that region due to their head-to-head win over the Rams.
Regardless of the situation with Cook, the Panthers had a game to play against the Worth County Rams.
SCHS opened the scoring when running back Ja’kory Wise ran the ball 44 yards for a Panthers touchdown. A penalty was issued against WCHS on the point after, giving the Panthers the opportunity to go for two. They were able to complete the two-point conversion and led 8-0 with a little less than eight minutes left in the first quarter.
Then with 1:58 to go in the first quarter, quarterback Anthony Tyson scored on a quarterback keeper. The Panthers went for two again and got it, making the score 15-0 in favor of SCHS.
However, the Rams would have a response, as quarterback Lyndon Worthy threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Ka’ori Wallace. The extra point was good and the Panthers’ lead had been trimmed to 15-7.
The Panthers had the ball again at their own 44-yard line, but Tyson fumbled the ball and it was recovered by the Rams. WCHS was able to move the ball down to the SCHS 30-yard line, but on fourth down and nine from the SCHS 30, the Panthers’ defense was able to get a stop and a turnover on downs.
The Panthers quickly took advantage of their good fortune by mounting a drive that ended up down at the WCHS one-yard line. Then Wise scored his second touchdown of the night from a yard out. The extra point was good and the Panthers had a 22-7 lead.
The Rams were able to mount a drive of their own, but on fourth down and eight from the Panthers’ 11-yard line, SCHS made another stop and the ball was turned over on downs with 3:48 to go in the second quarter.
The Rams were able to mount another drive, however, and this time, they cashed in. They were able to move the ball down to the SCHS 11-yard line before Worthy threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Javen Jackson. The extra point was good and the Panthers led 22-14 with 1:16 to go before halftime.
On the ensuing kickoff, Carl Monts was able to give the Panthers good field position by returning the ball to the SCHS 44 yard line. Then with 2.9 seconds left, Alan Gonzalez booted a 45-yard field goal to give the Panthers a 25-14 halftime lead.
However, the Rams would not go away, as they were able to score another touchdown with 11:07 left in the third quarter. The two-point conversion failed, but the Panthers’ lead had been trimmed to 25-20.
The Panthers had a response, however, as Tyson would score another touchdown on a quarterback keeper. The point after by Gonzalez was good and SCHS led 32-20 with 17 seconds left in the third quarter.
However, once again, the Rams had a response. They were able to move the ball all the way down to the SCHS two-yard line before Kaden Chester scored from two yards out. The extra point was good and the Panthers’ saw their lead trimmed to 32-27.
However, with 8:21 left in the game, the Panthers’ defense came up big, as A.J. Kearse picked off Worthy’s pass and ran the ball back the other way for a touchdown. The extra point was good and the Panthers led 39-27.
The Rams once again would respond and moved the ball down to the SCHS four-yard line. Then Worthy threw a four-yard touchdown pass to D’ontae Fulton. The extra point was good, but it was too little, too late for the Rams, as the Panthers went on to win by the score of 39-34.
Ja’kory Wise rushed for 216 yards and scored two touchdowns for the Panthers and quarterback Anthony Tyson completed eight of 16 passes for 42 yards. Tyson also rushed for 73 yards on 11 carries and scored two rushing touchdowns.
The Panthers will finish the regular season on the road at Jeff Davis this coming Friday at 7:30 p.m.