Princeton Times

Sports

October 26, 2012

Panthers drop game to Patriots

GARDNER — All season long, Bobby Wyatt has hoped PikeView will have momentum on their side early in the game, instead of playing from behind.

This past Friday, the Panthers had that opportunity when Independence fumbled the opening kickoff, giving PikeView a great starting position. Three plays later, the Panthers had backed up to midfield and were forced to punt.

The Patriots then marched 98 yards for a score on their way to 43-20 victory.

“We got a great opportunity right off the bat,” Wyatt said. “We got a fumble on the kickoff then we messed up three plays right in row. We lost 12 yards, had to punt, but we pinned them deep.

“We put people in place defensively, but we didn't tackle very well. It was probably one of the worst games tackling we had all year. We talked about us getting momentum and that's probably the best thing that's happened to us in the first part of the game all year. We just made everything negative and it went down hill.”

Trevor Moore capped off Independence's drive with a two-yard touchdown. John Powell followed on the Patriots ensuing drive as he rumbled in from three yards out.

PikeView kept battling and cut the Patriots' advantage in half with a Hunter Moses four-yard rushing touchdown to make it 16-8.

That would be as close as the Panthers would get. Aaron Tolliver broke free for the first of his three scores then PikeView couldn't convert on a fourth-down attempt giving the ball back to Independence.

The Patriots took full advantage and scored three more touchdowns before the half. Tolliver added an eight-yard rushing touchdown and caught a 23-yard pass from Brian Sexton. In between those two scores, Colton Ward ran away from the Panthers defense for a 41-yard touchdown.

“We bounced back pretty well,” Wyatt commented. “After we were driving and couldn't convert on a fourth down then they broke a long run which seemed to open the flood gates. They scored several touchdowns in the last eight minutes of the quarter. We went from a 24-14, 24-16 game to all of a sudden its 43-8. That's been the story all year.”

The Panthers added two more scores before the final horn. Ryan Roberts found the endzone on a one-yard rush while Moses caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Hardin.

Moses finished with 73 yards on the ground. Trevor Shannon added 72 yards on six carries while Joseph Jennings had 56.

Tolliver led all runners with 167 yards and two touchdowns. Powell had 74 yards and Ward chipped in with 44 yards.

•••

PikeView (0-8) has a big challenge in front of them Friday when Oak Hill (5-3) invades Gardner for the Panthers' senior night.

The Red Devils have dropped their last two including a heartbreaking 51-50 loss last week to Bluefield.

Oak Hill racked up 505 yards of offense in the game led by Kennedy Award candidate Jalen Jones. The speedy running back piled up 282 yards and four touchdowns on 33 carries. He also added a 69-yard touchdown pass.

“The big thing with him is to get him before he gets started,” Wyatt said. “I've seen two good game films on him against two-good football teams and he's got good yardage against both of them. They got to him before he got to edge or find the hole he needed to.

“When he gets going north-south, he usually gets positive yardage. Hopefully, we can make him run east-west and try to limit those situations.”

The good news for PikeView is Bluefield had over 440 yards of offense against Oak Hill including two 100-yard rushers.

Wyatt knows it will still be an up-hill battle especially with a young squad facing a bigger, more experienced Red Devil team.

“There is nothing they try to hide,” PikeView's coach said about Oak Hill. “There is nothing tricky about what they're doing. It's my kind of football.

“They're well coached in what they do. They're strong and they're not going to back down from anyone. That's where I want to get PikeView to. We've got to get into the weight room to get that done.”

The Panthers are also looking to send their three seniors — Josh Cox, Trevor Shannon and Josh Butler - out on a positive note. Wyatt had hoped for a few wins by now for them, but credits his seniors for “still playing hard.”

After Oak Hill's visit Friday, the Panthers visit Midland Trail on Thursday to finish out the season.

“We're going to try our best to end this thing on a positive note,” Wyatt said.

PikeView hosts Oak Hill tonight for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. Coverage of the game will be on Willie 97.3 starting at 7:15 p.m.

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