The Panther Press

Panthers Claw Quinlan Ford 49-30

FootballAdam Routon
(photo by Lynn English)

(photo by Lynn English)

Two. That seems to have been an important number Friday night as the North Lamar Panthers hosted the Quinlan Ford Panthers. It was the 2nd week in a row that NL faced another “Panther” team. NL needed 2 things to happen to keep their playoff hopes alive: a win and a Paris loss would have set up a “win to get in” matchup in next week’s Crosstown Showdown. And the game featured the only 2 winless teams in District 7-4A.

(photo by Lynn English) Seybian Holt fighting through a tackle 

(photo by Lynn English) Seybian Holt fighting through a tackle 

On a night designated to honor seniors, it was fitting that the scoring would start with a senior. After a slow start by both offenses, senior WR Seybian Holt would open the scoring with a 41 yard TD reception from senior QB Austin Allison. Allison had 2 TD passes on the night, both to Holt. After a missed PAT, NL led 6-0 with 1:36 left in the 1st quarter. 

The Panthers (NL) would score 2 TDs in each of the remaining quarters. The first of these came when senior RB Jeremiah Guenther capped a drive with a 1 yard TD run with 7:05 left in the 2nd. Holt would add a 2 pt conversion with a reception, extending the NL lead to 14-0. Following a QF score, NL drove the ball down field in a little over a minute, with Allison scoring the first of his 2 rushing TDs on the night from 16 yards out. Travis Coston would add the kick to give NL a 21-7 lead that took them to halftime. 

(photo by Lynn English) Austin Allison slices through the defense on the way to the end zone  

(photo by Lynn English) Austin Allison slices through the defense on the way to the end zone  

NL received the ball to start the 2nd half and quickly scored to extend their lead as Allison would scamper 20 yards for a TD. Allison was starting at QB for the first time this season as Jay Walters and Kobey Emeyabbi were both sidelined by injury. With the Coston kick, NL now led 28-7 just over a minute into the half. The Panther defense that held QF to one score in the 1st half would make the stop and the offense would capitalize. Holt grabbed a pass from Allison and raced 54 yards for a TD on a one play drive. After the Coston kick, NL had a commanding 35-7 lead. 

(photo by Lynn English) Grant Sulsar with a tackle

(photo by Lynn English) Grant Sulsar with a tackle

QF scored late in the 3rd and both teams would score twice in the 4th. Cameron Clark and Dee Wilson both had rushing TDs, helping NL get their first home and first district win (49-30) of the 2017 season. 

Unfortunately for NL, Paris defeated Anna 25-0 and ended the Panthers’ chance to make the playoffs. With the victory NL is now 1-3 in district play (3-6 for the season). The Panthers will close the season next Friday as they travel to Paris for the 2017 Crosstown Showdown. Kickoff will be at 7:30 with game coverage starting at 7:00 on Mix 107.7.

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Princeton Dominates NL in Duel of the Panthers

FootballAdam Routon
(photo by Lynn English) 

(photo by Lynn English) 

The North Lamar Panthers travelled south to face the Princeton Panthers on Friday night. NL came into the game searching for their first district win, while Princeton was tied for the district lead at 2-0. NL looked to continue the offensive success they had seen the week before while improving on defense and eliminating mistakes. After all, giving up an average of 46 points and 1.5 turnovers per game in district play will not get you in the win column. 

The game had the feel of a defensive struggle at the beginning as a battle for field position dominated the scoreless 1st quarter.  With the NL offense struggling, it looked like the defense would have to keep them in the game.  Unfortunately there were three plays in a 7-second span that completely changed the trajectory of the game.

(Photo by Lynn English) Quran Anglin and Jeremiah Guenther pressure the QB

(Photo by Lynn English) Quran Anglin and Jeremiah Guenther pressure the QB

The NL defense did a great job containing a potent Princeton offense for the first 18 minutes of the game, giving up yards but no big plays. This would end as Jalaydon Hill would take the ball around the left side, carrying four NL defenders for the last few yards into the end zone. This gave Princeton a 7-0 lead with 5:57 left in the half. A pooch kick on the subsequent kickoff fell between two lines of NL receivers who reacted too slowly to stop Princeton from recovering. On the very next play, Brendon Strickland hit Jacob Purdon for a 32 yard TD pass. NL did block the PAT, but Princeton now had a 13-0 lead with 5:50 left in the half. 7 seconds...complete change of game trajectory.

NL would give up another TD in the 3rd before finally getting on the scoreboard. Gaining only 33 yards on offense in the 1st half, they would drive 63 yards to score.  Jeremiah Guenther provided the lone score for your Panthers taking a handoff from Jay Walters and running it in from 4 yards out. Travis Coston added the extra point to reduce the deficit to 21-7. 

(photo by Lynn English) Austin Allison tries to defend the pass with Kevin Woods providing backside coverage

(photo by Lynn English) Austin Allison tries to defend the pass with Kevin Woods providing backside coverage

Princeton's offense would score one more touchdown while their defense would seal the victory with a pick six in the last minute of the game.

North Lamar now sits at 0-3 in district and will face Quinlan Ford (0-3)  on Friday. Kickoff is at 7:30 at R L Maddox stadium or you can listen on Mix 107.7 with coverage starting at 7:00.

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Panthers Come Up Short in Shootout With L-E

Adam Routon
(Photo by Lynn English) Junior Panthers run on the field in Youth Night  

(Photo by Lynn English) Junior Panthers run on the field in Youth Night  

Week 2 of District 7-4A football brought the Liberty-Eylau Leopards to town. LE and North Lamar both came in with 0-1 records, with LE losing to Paris last week while NL fell to Anna. Although the Panthers were missing some key players to injury, expectations from Coach Aaron Emeyabbi and his staff were high coming into this game. 

NL would take the opening drive for 39 yards before giving the ball up with their first fumble of the night. The Panthers finished the preseason plus 6 in turnovers but would lose 3 fumbles on Friday night, all of which were on their side of the 50 yard line and resulted in LE touchdowns. The first LE TD came at this point with a 5 play, 44 yard drive that gave LE a 7-0 lead just four minutes into the game.

NL would answer as Jeremiah Guenther busted through the LE defense to score from 3 yards out. Travis Coston added the PAT to tie the score 7-7 with 3:21 left in the first. 

The Panthers tried the first of two consecutive onside kicks following the score, and the first proved to be the right call but the Panthers were unable to gain control before the ball went out of bounds. LE would convert its second short drive of the night for a score to take a 14-7 lead. With the turnovers and failed onside kick attempts, LE had a vast advantage in field position throughout the night. The average length of the seven scoring drives for LE was 47 yards. NL's average scoring drive was 70 yards.  

Down 21-7 after their second lost fumble, QB Jay Walters would skate around the left side of the line for a 19 yard TD. The Coston PAT was good resulting in a 21-14 LE lead with 5:48 left in the half. The Leopards scored quickly on a 35 yard drive to extend the lead to 28-14.  NL would answer with a 74 yard drive, ending with a 37 yard reception by Seybian Holt sealed as he dove for the pylon to score a TD. Holt had a career night with 4 receptions for 101 yards and a TD. The Coston kick was good and NL trailed 28-21 with just 36 seconds left in the half. 

(Photos by Lynn English) Sequence of Seybian Holt's dramatic 37 yard TD

(Photos by Lynn English) Sequence of Seybian Holt's dramatic 37 yard TD

Unfortunately that proved to be too much time. On the night, each team only punted once and both teams gained massive yardage (LE had 402 yards on the night while NL had 398). LE scored with a 45 yard TD pass to end the half, though a failed PAT resulted in a 34-21 LE lead at halftime.

With 76 points scored in the other three quarters, the 3rd quarter turned out to be the defensive showcase for the night with the Panthers scoring the only TD. NL mounted a 10 play, 82 yard drive, capping it with a 33 yard TD run by Guenther. Guenther had a phenomenal night replacing Tyler Hill (injury) by running for 222 yards and 2 TDs. The Coston PAT brought NL to within 6, trailing 34-28 going into the 4th quarter.

Early in the 4th, LE would extend the lead to 40-28, failing to convert a 2-pt conversion after scoring a TD. NL would follow with a 12 play, 69 yard drive sealed with a 1 yard TD by Walters. The Coston kick was good leaving NL down by 5, trailing 40-35.

(Photo by Lynn English) Jay Walters dives for his 2nd TD of the night

(Photo by Lynn English) Jay Walters dives for his 2nd TD of the night

With 5:42 left in the game, the Panthers needed a defensive stop. But LE had other intentions, holding the ball for 4:25 with an 8 play, 63 yard drive (their longest of the night) that ended with NL trailing 48-35. That would be the final on a night filled with promise and frustration for the Panthers.

NL is now 0-2 in district play and will travel to play the Princeton Panthers (2-0) next Friday. Coverage begins at 7:00 on Mix 107.7 and kickoff is at 7:30.

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North Lamar Falls in District Opener

FootballAdam Routon

North Lamar went into the mid-season bye with a solid win over Canton, appearing to be ready for district play. The Panthers hosted the Anna Coyotes in their district opener Friday night. It was only the second time this year NL played at home. For just over two quarters it looked as if the Panthers might be able to notch their first district win of 2017, but then things fell apart as Anna outscored NL 30-6 in the second half. 

(Photo by Lynn English) Tyler Hill makes a move on an Anna defender

(Photo by Lynn English) Tyler Hill makes a move on an Anna defender

NL started off like a team in control, taking the opening drive down the field in just over two minutes and finishing with a 33-yard TD run by Tyler Hill. After a penalty on the first PAT, NL would fail to convert the second attempt and led 6-0 with 9:36 left in the first quarter. Meanwhile, the Panther defense looked dominant in the first two Anna drives, forcing 3 and out both times. 

The defense broke down on a play early in the second quarter as the Anna QB cut through the right side of the defense, scampering 48 yards to score. The PAT gave Anna the lead 7-6 with 10:26 left to play in the first half. It was a lead they would never surrender.  

On the next defensive sequence, Anna drove deep into NL territory before the Panthers made a stop on a 4th down attempt, regaining momentum in the ball game. Unfortunately they could not hold the momentum long. On the second play of the Panther drive, Jay Walters hit Austin Allison on a left-side screen that looked like a great play. Allison would scoot for 9 yards before having the ball dislodged by the hit from the Anna defender.  

The Coyotes recovered the ball and scored a few minutes later to give them a 14-6 lead that they would carry into halftime.  

While NL looked pretty solid on defense in the first half, halftime adjustments by Anna would prove to be the difference. The Coyotes would finish the night with 393 yards of offense, and nearly two-thirds of that was in the second half. The difference was seen immediately as they took the opening drive down the field, holding the ball for over four minutes before scoring. With a 2-point conversion, the lead was extended to 22-6. 

The Panthers answered quickly with Jeremiah Guenther taking the handoff on the first play of the drive. He moved quickly through a mammoth hole created by the offensive line, split the difference between the two safeties and raced 57 yards for a TD. NL failed on their 2-point conversion attempt, trailing 22-12 with 7:01 left in the third quarter. 

(Photo by Lynn English) Jeremiah Guenther looks for yardage  

(Photo by Lynn English) Jeremiah Guenther looks for yardage  

That would be the last time the Panthers would see the end zone. With 293 yards of total offense, NL was below season averages. In spite of a big drive to open the game and a big play to start the second half, the Panthers struggled on offense for the rest of the night. 

Anna scored three more TDs on the night and added a safety on a botched snap during a punt attempt by NL. Anna defeated the Panthers 44-12. 

The loss gives the Panthers a 2-4 record for the year, 0-1 in district play. NL looks to recover this week as they host the Liberty-Eylau Leopards on Friday, 10/20. L-E is 1-5 for the year, 0-1 in district after losing to Paris on Friday night. Kickoff will be at 7:30 at R.L. Maddox stadium. You can hear the call on Mix 107.7 as game coverage starts at 7:00.  

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Panthers Claw Canton 35-13

FootballAdam Routon
photos by Lynn English

photos by Lynn English

It was Homecoming again...this time for the Canton Eagles. North Lamar came into the last preseason game of the year after losing three straight games by a combined total of 11 points. With an especially frustrating loss to Pottsboro last week, NL looked to get back in the win column heading into the mid-season bye. 

After both teams traded punts on their first possessions, NL started to see some glimpses of their week 4 nemesis, penalties. Two drive-extending penalties allowed Canton to punch the ball in from a yard out, giving the Eagles a 7-0 lead with 3:08 remaining in the first quarter.  The Panthers took the next drive deep into Canton territory before surrendering possession with a fumble at the 16 yard line. 

With the mistakes behind them, NL began to hit their offensive stride. QB Jay Walters led the Panthers on a two minute drive to close the half, scoring on a 1-yard run to tie the game 7-7 at the half.  

Hunter Moore celebrates a TD, Seybian Holt running after the catch, Tyler Hill celebrating TD #2 ---photos by Lynn English

Hunter Moore celebrates a TD, Seybian Holt running after the catch, Tyler Hill celebrating TD #2 ---photos by Lynn English

The Panthers would go on to score 28 more unanswered points while amassing 332 yards of offense. With Sadi English watching from the sideline, NL marched the opening drive of the second half down the field while consuming nearly five minutes. Tyler Hill would complete the drive with a 2-yard TD, giving NL a 14-7 lead. Hill would finish the night with 127 yards, 2 TDs and a fumble after returning to full action for the first time since week 1 of the season.  

Tyler Hill fights for a big gain --photo by Lynn English

Tyler Hill fights for a big gain --photo by Lynn English

The Panther defense got the job done on the next drive with a crucial 4th down stop. Quran Anglin deflected a pass attempt and gave NL the ball on the Canton 41 yard line. It would only take three plays for the offense to strike as Seybian Holt opened the drive with a 22-yard reception from Walters. Hill would complete the drive, scoring from 17-yards out to extend the NL lead to 21-7.  

Jackson Leonard with a tackle --photo by Lynn Englis

Jackson Leonard with a tackle --photo by Lynn Englis

The Panthers next score was a bit more dramatic as a botched field goal attempt initiated a scramble by Walters who would find Hunter Moore for a 17-yard TD reception. Walters was 7/8 passing for 79 yards on the night. With 11:53 left in the game, NL held a 28-7 lead over Canton. NL would finish the night with one more score as Walters scampered 41-yards to give the Panthers a 35-7 lead with just over six minutes left in the game. In spite of the botched FG attempt, Travis Coston was perfect with five PAT conversions on the night.

Canton scored a meaningless TD as time expired resulting in a final score of 35-13. The Panthers finish the preseason with a record of 2-3. After a bye week, NL will open district play on October 13th as they host the Anna Coyotes. Kickoff is at 7:30. 

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Panthers Suffer Heartbreaking Loss on Homecoming

FootballGreg Higgins
(Photo by Lynn English) North Lamar offense lining up against Pottsboro Friday night.

(Photo by Lynn English) North Lamar offense lining up against Pottsboro Friday night.

The North Lamar Panthers came in to Friday’s game as a 14 point underdog to the visiting Pottsboro Cardinals. For most of the night, North Lamar dominated the visitors on offense and defense. However, it wasn’t enough as Pottsboro walked away with a 14-11 victory.

The Panthers dominated every statistical category. They finished the game with 21 first downs to only 10 for Pottsboro. North Lamar had 341 total yards of offense while their defense held the Cardinals to only 188. In the first quarter, North Lamar held Pottsboro to only four yards offense and only 44 in the first half.

North Lamar struggled getting the ball in the endzone themselves. The only points they managed to get in the first half was a field goal by Travis Coston. This just wasn’t any field goal, though. After getting stopped on a third down and eight from the 29 yard line of Pottsboro, head coach Aaron Emeyabbi sent his senior out there for a 47 yard field goal. Coston had already made one from 40 this season. This time, he booted it through the uprights from 47 to give North Lamar a 3-0 lead.

That would be the only scoring until the 5:35 mark of the third quarter. The North Lamar offense seemed to be rolling and was primed to take a 10 point lead. Jeremiah Guenther took a handoff from Jay Walters and took the ball up the middle 34 yards for a touchdown. However, a chop block penalty brought the ball back to the 49 yard line and negated the score.

A few plays later, North Lamar was forced to punt. Once again the penalty bug bites as the Panthers were called for a illegal procedure. Not once but twice. On the third attempt, there was another flag but this one was for too many men in the huddle. On the fourth attempt, the snap sailed over Coston’s head and Pottsboro got the ball at the 23 yard line. Three plays later, Pottsboro punches the ball in for a score.

It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that Pottsboro finally moved the ball on the Panthers. Of the 188 yards gained, 126 of that came in the final quarter. The first drive ended with a missed field goal. The second drive ended with a 32 yard touchdown run by Braden Plyler.

Trailing by 11, the Panthers went to work as they got the ball back with just over four minutes to play in the game. North Lamar drove down the field in just under two minutes. It only took them six plays to get the 65 yards needed, capped off by a 30 yard run from Walters. Walters found Kobey Emeyabbi on the two-point conversion attempt. 

(Photo by Lynn English) Seybian Holt waiting for the next play against Pottsboro Friday night.

(Photo by Lynn English) Seybian Holt waiting for the next play against Pottsboro Friday night.

With the score 14-11, North Lamar attempted the onside kick but could not recover it. Pottsboro, however, decided to throw the ball with the three point lead. Austin Allison was ready, too as he made his second interception of the ball game. North Lamar was unable to convert on the possession as they turned the ball over on downs to Pottsboro.

“I’m proud of how our guys never gave up,” head coach Aaron Emeyabbi said after the loss. “Being down late by two scores, we could have folded but we kept fighting and gave ourselves a chance at the end.”

With the loss, North Lamar goes to 1-3 on the season and will travel to Canton next Friday. Kickoff is at 7:30 and can be heard on Mix 107.7 beginning with the pregame at 7:00pm. 

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North Lamar Loses Nailbiter to Greenville

FootballAdam Routon
photo by Lynn English

photo by Lynn English

Five. That's how many yards the Panthers needed to beat Greenville on Friday night. Faced with a 4th and goal with the ball spotted just inside the Greenville 5-yard line, 31 seconds left to play, Kobey Emeyabbi (2) lined up the offense for one last shot to win this game. 

North Lamar came into Greenville on Friday for their 3rd straight road game against a 5A opponent. Looking to move to 2-1 in the toughest preseason schedule that the Panthers have had in some time, NL would have their hands full with an up and coming Greenville team led by junior QB, Caleb Jarvis.   

Greenville looked to set the tone of the game, starting with an 8 play, 73 yard drive that was capped off with a 15 yard TD run by Nick Mapps just over 3 minutes into the game.  The Panthers were able to get a first down on their first drive, but were forced to punt as the drive stalled out.  Just four plays later, Mapps would fumble the ball and Hunter Moore (34) would recover for the Panthers at their 41 yard line. Facing a 4th and 3 from the Greenville 37 yard, QB Jay Walters (1) dashed through the defense for a TD. Travis Coston (3) tacked on the PAT to give NL a 7-7 tie as the first quarter wound down. 

In an action-packed second quarter that would see 31 points scored, Greenville quickly responded with a drive that took 1:13 to score. Jarvis gave his team the 14-7 lead with a 17 yard scamper. NL would answer with a quick drive of its own, taking 5 plays to move 53 yards. Jeremiah Guenther (10) punched the ball in from 3 yards out and Coston converted the PAT to tie the game 14-14.   Greenville would score quickly on its next two drives to take a 28-14 lead. After NL lost a fumble at their own 26 yard line, it looked like Greenville would blow the game open. Seybian Holt (13) would change that with an interception on the very next play to give NL the ball. With Walters out of the game, Emeyabbi led the Panthers down the field and Coston kicked a 24 yard field goal as the clock expired to cut the Greenville lead to 28-17 at the half.  

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NL took the opening drive of the 2nd half, holding the ball for more than six minutes before Guenther scored with a 6 yard run. Emeyabbi converted the 2 point PAT to cut the lead to 28-25. Greenville responded with a five minute drive of their own and looked to extend their lead when Jarvis fumbled at the NL 13. Kevin Woods (14) recovered for the Panthers. Emeyabbi would lead the Panthers down the field, scoring with a 30 yard run on a 4th and inches to give NL their first lead of the night with 9:32 left in the game. A costly missed PAT resulted in NL leading 31-28. Greenville would answer with a TD to take back the lead at 35-31.

NL had the ball back with 5:10 left in the game. Fighting through illness that had slowed him down all week, Emeyabbi led NL down the field to a 4th and goal on the five yard line with 31 seconds on the clock. As the offense approached the line of scrimmage, coach Aaron Emeyabbi was sprinting down the sideline screaming for a timeout.  Almost unbelievably the officials were unable to see or hear him and did not give him the timeout. The ball was snapped, Emeyabbi rolled to his right and threw a pass to Holt in the back corner of the end zone. The pass fell incomplete and sealed the 35-31 victory for Greenville. 

NL falls to 1-2 in spite of dominating time of possession, winning the turnover battle and successfully moving the ball. Though obviously disappointed with the loss, Coach Emeyabbi was proud of the fight and effort demonstrated by his team.  

The Panthers will finally have their first home game of the season as they host Pottsboro for homecoming next Friday. Join us at RL Maddox stadium for the 7:30 kickoff.  

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Panthers Fall in Mt. Pleasant

FootballGreg Higgins
(Photo by Lynn English) Travis Coston kicking a 40 yard field goal for the Panthers Friday night.

(Photo by Lynn English) Travis Coston kicking a 40 yard field goal for the Panthers Friday night.

If there is one word to describe North Lamar’s game against Mt. Pleasant on Friday night, it’s opportunities. North Lamar trying to move to 2-0 on the young season had opportunities on both sides of the ball. Unfortunately, they couldn’t take advantage of enough opportunities and fell 21-17 on the road. 

North Lamar’s defense played much better against the Tigers than they had against Leander Glenn in week one. The Panthers only allowed 206 total yards. More importantly North Lamar only gave up 47 yards on the ground on 32 attempts. That’s less than one and a half yards per carry. Put that next to the 211 yards they gave up the first week on the ground and you can see the vast improvement for North Lamar.

The problem was the passing game. Josh Morris completed nine of his passes for 159 yards. As a matter of fact, his first pass attempt was dropped by the receiver. After that, he completed all nine passes including a 77 yard touchdown on the third play of the game. The Panthers had an opportunity to make a statement early in the ball game on defense. 

Having travelled backwards for the first couple of plays, the Tigers were facing a third down and 19 at their own 23 yard line. Morris dropped back to pass and found Dorian Glinton coming across the middle of the field at the 40 yard line. He caught the pass and was off to the races as he outran the Panthers defense to the endzone. Just like that, it was 7-0 with less than a minute off the clock. 

Not to be outdone, the offense made the most of their first opportunity. Getting the ball on their own 24 yard line, the Panthers marched down the field for a score. The drive took nearly six and a half minutes off the clock and finished with a one yard touchdown run by Jay Walters

(Photo by Lynn English) Jeremiah Guenther with a touchdown run against Mt. Pleasant friday.

(Photo by Lynn English) Jeremiah Guenther with a touchdown run against Mt. Pleasant friday.

The defense would stand tall on the next series. This time they caused Mt. Pleasant to lose 15 yards on their three plays from scrimmage. North Lamar’s offense would take over at their own 38 yard line with all the momentum in the ball game. Unfortunately that opportunity was lost as the Panthers went backwards on the three plays of the drive.

Both teams would trade touchdowns on their next possessions, though. Tyke Fluellen would score first as the Tigers took a 14-7 lead with 8:50 to play in the half. North Lamar would answer with an 81 yard drive of their own. Jeremiah Guenther would find the endzone for North Lamar as he took the hand off from Walters and went 24 yards to the house. I should mention that the 24 yards were “untouched” yards as the offensive line created a hole big enough to drive a truck through.

The score would remain this way into the second half. Both teams would only manage one score after halftime. This time it would be North Lamar striking first. On their second possession of the half, North Lamar found themselves facing a first and goal from the nine yard line. A chop blocking penalty, however, put the Panthers at first and goal from the 24 yard line. North Lamar never recovered and had to settle for a field goal. This wasn’t just any field goal, though. Travis Coston gave North Lamar a lead with a 40 yard field goal with under a minute to play in the third quarter.

The score would remain 17-14 until just under five minutes to play in the game. That’s when Morris passed for his second touchdown of the game. This time he found K.J. Cannon in the back of the endzone for the score and the 21-17 lead. That would be how the game would end as North Lamar falls to 1-1 on the season. The Panthers will travel to Greenville next Friday night for a 7:30 kickoff.

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North Lamar with Solid Performance in Season Opener

FootballGreg Higgins
(Photo by Jared Routon) Jeremiah Guenther with a break away run against Leander Glenn. Guenther finished with 181 yards rushing for North Lamar

(Photo by Jared Routon) Jeremiah Guenther with a break away run against Leander Glenn. Guenther finished with 181 yards rushing for North Lamar

In 2016, the North Lamar Panthers struggled on the road as their only victory came against Quinlan Ford late in the season. With six games away from R.L. Maddox stadium, the Panthers hope to reverse the road outcomes this season. 

The confidence got a huge boost in their season opener as they defeated Leander Glenn 37-27 at Kennedale High School. Due to UIL rules, the rematch with Idabel had to be scratched. Coach Aaron Emeyabbi was able to find a team just northwest of Austin that was willing to play.

The game got off to a rocky start for the Panthers. North Lamar received the opening kickoff and went backwards. The defensive line for the Grizzlies caused three straight running plays to end up with negative yardage. North Lamar was forced to punt. 

Leander Glenn got the ball at their own 34 yard line and methodically moved the ball down the field. They took the ball down the field and put themselves in position to take an early lead over North Lamar. With a second and goal situation from the five yard line, quarterback Khorin Thompson took the snap and was headed to the end zone. It was sophomore Kobey Emeyabbi, though, that got his hand in the way and stripped the ball from the quarterback. North Lamar recovered the fumble at the three yard line.

Another three and out gave the ball back to Leander Glenn. The Grizzlies were set up with great field position after an outstanding punt return. However a holding penalty set them up at the 40 yard line. This time they would find the end zone. Thompson would secure the ball and scamper in from three yards out.

Trailing 7-0, the Panthers offense woke up. After managing only five yards in their first two possessions, North Lamar would rack up 336 yards on their next five touches with five touchdowns. The first drive went 74 yards in 10 plays, capped by a Tyler Hill 13 yard touchdown run. Travis Coston would nail the extra-point to tie the game.

The next Leander Glenn possession would present a great opportunity for the North Lamar defense. On their third play of the drive, backup quarterback Drew McGuire dropped back to pass at the Panther 40 yard line. His pass went down the middle of the field right into the hands of Hill at the 25. Hill brought the ball back to the 40 yard line for North Lamar. Two plays later, Jeremiah Guenther took a handoff from Jay Walters and went 59 yards to the house.

Leander Glenn would answer on their next possession to tie the game 14-14. The next offensive possession for North Lamar would show their versatility as Walters connected with Seybian Holt for a 29 yard touchdown pass. Holt, got the defender to bite on a short fake and then blew by him on the outside edge. Walters threw a dart right on the money. Holt caught it at the 10 and was able to easily get to the goal line.

With a 21-14 lead, and Leander Glenn threatening before halftime, it was the defense that would once again come up big. Facing a third and 15 from the North Lamar 16 yard line, Thompson dropped back to pass. He lobbed it to the corner of the end zone where he had a receiver. Josh Dangerfield was also there. He out-leaped the Grizzly receiver and hauled in the interception. North Lamar would take a seven point lead into the locker room.

(photo by Jared Routon) Jay Walters with a pass for a two-point conversion against Leander Glenn.

(photo by Jared Routon) Jay Walters with a pass for a two-point conversion against Leander Glenn.

The first offensive play from scrimmage for the Panthers in the second half was a 43 yard run by Guenther. The play was made possible, though, because of more outstanding defense from the Panthers. This time it wasn’t a turnover. North Lamar was able to hold Leander Glenn at midfield and force a punt. Guenther’s run set up Emeyabbi on a one yard scoring run. The point after attempt turned into two points as a botched snap allowed Holt to scamper in for the two points. 

With a 15 point lead, North Lamar looked like they were on their way to a sure victory. Leander Glenn had different ideas, though. With 3:10 to play in the third quarter, Julian Morris scored on an eight yard run for the Grizzlies. The two point conversion was no good. The ensuing kickoff would be disastrous for North Lamar. Pedro Soto kicked the ball from the 40 and the ball landed between two North Lamar players. It was Leander Glenn, though, who fell on the ball for the recovery at the Panther 43 yard line. A little over 30 seconds later, Morris was in the end zone once again to make the score 29-27.

Clinging to a two point lead the Panthers needed to sustain a long scoring drive and that’s exactly what they did. North Lamar went 57 yards in 12 plays and ate up over five minutes on the clock. This time it was Dee Wilson who found the end zone on an eight yard run. Walters hit Hunter Moore in the back of the end zone for the two point conversion.

Both teams would trade punts on their next possessions. It was the Panthers defense that would put the final nail in the coffin, though. With just over three minutes to play in the game, Thompson threw another interception. This time it was Holt with the catch for North Lamar. The Panthers offense ran out the clock to preserve the 37-27 victory. North Lamar is now 1-0 on the season and will be in Mt. Pleasant next Friday night. 

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North Lamar’s Bryant to play in ASC Conference

FootballGreg Higgins
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North Lamar offensive lineman Ryder Bryant will play football at the next level beginning the fall of 2017.  This week Bryant put his signature on the dotted line to join the Hardin Simmons’ Cowboys in Abilene, Texas.  HSU is a NCAA Division III school that participates in the American Southwest Conference.  Joining him as he signs are his father, Hank, and his mother, Jennifer. Standing behind are Panther coaches Logan McGill, NL Athletic Director Aaron Emeyabbi, and Martin Bryant. Bryant plans to major in Criminal Justice.

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North Lamar’s Cowling Signs with ETBU

FootballGreg Higgins
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North Lamar High School 2017 graduate, Sam Cowling, is joining the Tigers football team at East Texas Baptist University this coming fall.  ETBU is a Division III NCAA school located in Marshall, Texas, and is a member of the American Southwest Conference.

          With Cowling as he signs is his mother, Michelle, and father, Mike.  Coaches showing their support in back are Josh Shipman, NL Athletic Director Aaron Emeyabbi, and Martin Bryant.

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Panthers Come Up Just Short in Crosstown Showdown

FootballGreg Higgins
(Photo by Adam Routon) North Lamar listening to the band play the school song after Friday's game with Paris.

(Photo by Adam Routon) North Lamar listening to the band play the school song after Friday's game with Paris.

It was a game that had more twists and turns than a Hollywood blockbuster. It was a game that took fans, coaches and players on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. In the end, though, it was Paris High celebrating a 42-35 victory over the hometown North Lamar Panthers.

”Our kids played their butts off. They really did…..I love that they fought hard. The scheme was there.” - Coach Emeyabbi after the game was over.

That may be an understatement on his part too. On multiple occasions, the Panthers had the opportunity to fold up and get blown out of the game. The resiliency of this team came through when they needed it most.

Paris scored the opening touchdown less than a minute into the game. North Lamar tried an onside kick to start the game and it didn’t work. Paris took over at their own 49 yard line. It only took them three plays to find the goal line. 

North Lamar answered the bell as they marched 74 yards on their opening drive. It took them 10 plays to do so, while eating up nearly five minutes of game time. The result was a 13 yard run from Sam Cowling to tie the game. 

After holding Paris to only three yards on their next possession, North Lamar took the ball 80 yards on their next drive. This time it took 12 plays. Javon Franklin capped it off with a one yard touchdown run.

I love that they fought hard. The scheme was there.
— Aaron Emeyabbi

On their first two drives, Paris didn’t give the ball to the Donovan Williams one time. That changed starting on the third series. Williams started getting the ball steadily and North Lamar had a hard time stopping him.

On the Wildcats next two possessions, Williams scored on a four yard run and a 74 yard run respectively. All of a sudden Paris was up 21-14 late in the second quarter.

North Lamar’s offense meanwhile stalled. After putting together 154 yards on their first two drives, North Lamar managed only 35 yards of offense on their next six touches.

Leading 21-14, Paris had the ball deep in North Lamar territory late in the first half. Ja’Kerion Brown spiked the ball at the Panthers 13 yard line with just under 20 seconds to play in the half.

Trying to go up by two scores, Brown rolled to his left. Trying to find Jalon Pipkins near the goal line, his pass was a little off the mark. The ball went through the hands of Pipkins and right into the hands of Menderiz Gray.

Gray, catching it at the five yard line, took off down the sideline. After breaking a few tackles, Gray found himself standing in the North Lamar endzone with two seconds left in the half. 

(Photo by Adam Routon) Seybian Holt (13) with a kickoff return for North Lamar

(Photo by Adam Routon) Seybian Holt (13) with a kickoff return for North Lamar

The Panthers had tied the game. The third quarter was back and forth for both teams as neither team could move the ball. The Wildcats managed 23 yards on their two drives in the third quarter while North Lamar only had 19 on their three drives.

On the next Wildcat drive, the Panther defense held them. Facing a third down and 12, Brown ran the ball for five yards. However, a late hit out of bounds on North Lamar added 15 yards to the end of the run and kept the drive going. Paris would capitalize making the score 28-21.

Another three and out by the Panthers offense gave Paris the ball right back. This time it only took them three plays to go 68 yards, capped off by a 63 yard run from Williams. 

The Panthers were now down by 14 with a little over eight minutes to play in the game. North Lamar would go back to work. The Panthers went 72 yards in 14 plays on their next drive. Cowling finished the drive with a one yard scoring run. 

North Lamar appeared to have scored a few minutes earlier. Cowling pitched the ball to Austin Allison on an end around. Allison stopped and aired it out to Franklin who caught it in stride at the five and scampered in for a touchdown. However, the Panthers were flagged for an ineligible receiver down field. 

Never-the-less, the score was now 35-28. With less than three minutes to play in the game, everyone knew an onside kick was about to happen. Somehow, the ball bounced perfectly between a couple of Wildcats and North Lamar recovered the onside kick.

Twenty-seven seconds later, the game was tied. It was Cowling once again. This time on a 33 yard run. Paris, though, had too much time. Paris got the ball back on their own 42 yard line. It only took them five plays to march 58 yards for the score.

Cowling would have the ball stripped away on the first play of their next drive. That would be how the ballgame ended. 

”I’m proud of my team. We’ve gotten better every week and we’re peaking at the right time going into the playoffs.” - Emeyabbi

The Panthers season will continue, though, as they will be in the playoffs for the first time since 2012. North Lamar will play Terrell at Terrell. The game will be Friday at 7:30pm.

 

Panthers Clinch Playoff Berth in Win over Quinlan Ford

FootballGreg Higgins
Photo by Maddy Routon: North Lamar running onto the field against Quinlan Ford

Photo by Maddy Routon: North Lamar running onto the field against Quinlan Ford

After their dominating performance at home against Princeton last Friday night, the North Lamar Panthers did something this Friday they haven't done all year long. They won a road game. Not only did they win a road game, but they were just as dominant in doing so as they were against Princeton.

North Lamar scored 15 seconds into the game and never looked back as they defeated Quinlan Ford 41-20. Forty-one points is the most points scored by North Lamar in a road game this season. They beat their previous high by nearly two touchdowns. Against Pottsboro, North Lamar scored 28 points.

Against Pottsboro, North Lamar fell behind 17-0 and couldn't recover. Against Quinlan Ford, it was a different story. After the home team won the coin toss and elected to defer, North Lamar got on the board in a hurry. It took Sam Cowling one play to go 56 yards for a touchdown. The Panthers never looked back. Travis Coston's kick went wide left to make the score 6-0. It was his only miss on the night in six tries.

Coach Aaron Emeyabbi shocked everyone in the stadium when he kicked an onside kick the next play. Coston executed it brilliantly and North Lamar was in business again. They marched the ball down to the four yard line of Quinlan Ford. However, Cowling lost the ball on a quarterback option when the linebacker hit the ball with his helmet on a tackle.

Quinlan Ford took over at that spot. They moved the ball to just beyond midfield when the Panther defense stepped up. This time it was senior Ryder Bryant who stripped the ball away from the Quinlan Ford quarterback, who was trying to run. Austin Exum fell on it and North Lamar was back in business.

This time it only took North Lamar four plays to find the back of the endzone. It was Cowling again, but this time on a 46 yard run up the middle. North Lamar led 13-0 at this point and you could sense the confidence mounting from the team.

Quinlan Ford has a misdirection offense that is designed to fool the defense. You know they're going to get some yardage and get some points. They are not built for a quick strike attack, though. They want to run it and eat up the clock.

Quinlan Ford held the ball for over 27 minutes in the game. That's seven more minutes than North Lamar. Quinlan Ford's three touchdown drives took 16 minutes off the clock. In comparison, North Lamar's six touchdown drives took 13 and a half minutes off the clock.

So when the Panthers went up 13-0, you had a sense the game was out of reach; mainly because their offense showed no signs of letting up. They didn't let up either. North Lamar finished with 497 yards of total offense. Cowling accounted for over 270 of that. He had 209 on the ground and another 63 through the air.

Javon Franklin had another great game as well. On his first six carries, he only had 11 yards on the ground. On his next 12 carries, he went for 153 and a couple of scores. Tyler Hill had two carries for 51 yards and a touchdown as well.

Quinlan Ford would trade touchdowns with North Lamar for the next two quarters. At 27-20, though, North Lamar would score 14 straight to finish out the game. The Panthers defense had another good game as well. They allowed over 350 yards but they forced three turnovers in the game.

After Cowling got the first two touchdowns in the game, Franklin was responsible for the next two. He scored on a 33 yard run and a 51 yard run respectively. The last score put North Lamar up 27-14 at the half. After Quinlan Ford took second half kickoff and went on a six and a half minute scoring drive, North Lamar came right back with a score of their own.

Facing a third down and long from the Quinlan Ford 18 yard line, Cowling threw a pass to the front corner of the endzone. Menderiz Gray made a great athletic play to jump over the defenders and bring the ball down for a touchdown. That put North Lamar up 34-20. Hill's 51 yard run would close out the scoring in the fourth quarter.

With the win, North Lamar has clinched their first playoff berth since 2012, when they played Quinlan Ford. Tommy Felty was the coach of the team still. North Lamar will close out the regular season next Friday night at R.L. Maddox stadium with a game against Paris High. Paris clinched the district title on Friday night with their win over Anna.

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North Lamar Shuts Down Princeton in Big District Win

FootballGreg Higgins
(Photo by Adam Routon) Jake Stewart (83) making a tackle for North Lamar.

(Photo by Adam Routon) Jake Stewart (83) making a tackle for North Lamar.

The North Lamar Panthers entered Friday night’s game against the Princeton Panthers in a desperate need of a win. As the only winless team in district through two games, North Lamar needed a win in a bad way. The Panthers got exactly what they hoped for as they walked away with a 27-7 victory.

From the opening kickoff to the last whistle, North Lamar dominated the visitors from Princeton. Offensively the Panthers had 436 total yards with 83 of those coming off the arm of senior quarterback Sam Cowling

North Lamar had 21 first downs in the game. They averaged over five yards per carry for the game and converted 57% of their third down tries. They were also one for two on fourth down. 

Defensively, the Panthers even played better than they did on offense. From the first time Princeton touched the ball, North Lamar caused confusion for the offense.

Brendon Strickland, the Princeton quarterback, only completed ten of his 28 passes. Part of this was the fact that the defensive backs, Menderiz Gray, Josh Daingerfield and Sebastian Stephens hit the receivers as soon as the ball arrived causing the receivers all kinds of problems catching the ball.

Another reason was Dakota Grissom and Jake Stewart caused problems at the line for Strickland. Stewart had multiple pass deflections while Grissom forced the quarterback to scramble all night. 

”Grissom played out of his mind. He was one of the big vocal leaders this week and making sure the team was focused. He played exceptional.” - Aaron Emeyabbi

The linebackers shouldn’t be left out, either. Austin Allison, Ty Waggoner, Tyler Biard and Jeremiah Guenther mixed up coverage and were one step ahead of the Princeton offense all night long. 

The Panthers gave up only 127 total yards to Princeton in the game. At half time, North Lamar was out gaining the visitors 287 to 28. Princeton only had 10 first downs in the game and five of those came from North Lamar penalties. 

Grissom played out of his mind....He played exceptional.
— Coach Emeyabbi

It was easily the most dominating game defensively the Panthers have had in quite a long time. The only scoring drive Princeton had came in the third quarter. Princeton went 96 yards in nine plays. They were aided, though, on three very questionable personal foul calls that gave them a total of 45 yards on the drive. The drive ended with a three yard run from Tristan Gee. 

Other than that play, North Lamar held Princeton off the score sheet. It wasn’t even close, either. North Lamar forced four turnovers - two fumbles and two interceptions. Gray was the recipient of both interceptions. 

North Lamar opened the scoring in the first quarter. After their first drive ended with a missed 32 yard field goal, North Lamar turned an interception into a touchdown on their next possession. 

After Gray got the interception and returned it to the 35 yard line of North Lamar, he was repaid by Cowling with a score. Cowling, facing a third and eight from the 11 yard line, found Gray in the back corner of the endzone for a touchdown. Travis Coston added the extra point to make it 7-0.

North Lamar scored again on the next drive. This time it came by the legs of Javon Franklin. It was a four yard run by Franklin that made the score 13-0. It was four of his 163 yards on the night. The next score also came off the legs of Javon as North Lamar went up 20-0 with less than a minute to play in the first half.

Princeton would get their lone touchdown in the third quarter and North Lamar would put the exclamation point on the win in the fourth quarter. This time it was Tyler Hill with a one yard run for the score. Coston added his third extra point of the game to make it 27-7. That’s how the game would end for North Lamar.

With the win North Lamar is now 4-4 (1-2) on the season. They are tied with Anna, Princeton and Quinlan Ford in the district. Liberty Eylau is 2-1 and Paris is now 3-0. North Lamar will be at Quinlan Ford next Friday before closing out the season at home against Paris.

Panthers Stumble Against Liberty Eylau

FootballGreg Higgins
(Photo by Maddy Routon) Javon Franklin with a run for North Lamar against LE.

(Photo by Maddy Routon) Javon Franklin with a run for North Lamar against LE.

It was the start the North Lamar Panthers hoped to get on the road in Texarkana. In their previous three road games, the Panthers started off slowly. All three slow starts contributed to the three road losses. Against Liberty Eylau, though, the start was exactly what the Panthers wanted.

Liberty Eylau got the opening kick off Friday night and went 30 yards in two plays. The third play, however, is what sparked the Panthers. Quarterback Decorian Phillips dropped back from the 29 yard line and threw the ball to the endzone. Austin Allison was waiting for the pass and picked it off for North Lamar. He would return it to the 13 yard line.

The Panthers would go on a 16 play, 87 yard drive. The drive was capped off by a one yard touchdown run from senior quarterback Sam Cowling. That would be the last glimmer of hope for North Lamar until the final drive of the game.

Liberty Eylau scored 38 unanswered points beginning on the next possession. It took them only four plays to travel 67 yards. It was the first of five touchdowns on the night for the leopards. After the interception, Liberty Eylau had eight possessions. Six of them ended in scores. One of the drives ended in a punt and the other in a missed field goal.

The Panthers only other score came in the final seconds of the game. By that time, the game was way out of hand. The Panthers defense struggled once again as they allowed the LE offense to rack up 483 yards. Over 360 of them were on the ground.

Offensively, North Lamar had a hard time against the LE defense. The Panthers only managed 234 total yards. Cowling was the high man for North Lamar with 122 on the ground. Javon Franklin finished with 50 yards on 23 carries and the other Panther touchdown. Tyler Hill had 47 yards on 14 carries.

Next up, the Panthers will be at home against Princeton. Kickoff is set for 7:30 at R.L. Maddox Stadium.

Panthers Open District with a Loss at Anna

FootballGreg Higgins
 (Photo by Maddy Routon) Defensive Line for the Panthers

 (Photo by Maddy Routon) Defensive Line for the Panthers

Friday's district opener against Anna didn't start the way North Lamar had planned. It didn't end the way they had hoped either as the Panthers found themselves on the wrong side of a 35-19 score.

For the third time this season, the North Lamar Panthers went out on the road for a game. All three times, the Panthers found themselves in the loss column.

Part of the reason for the losses has been the slow start in those games. Friday in Anna was no different for the Panthers. After winning the opening coin toss, North Lamar elected to receive and go on offense. Their offense couldn't do a thing as it went three and out and only managed one yard on the drive.

The defense, however, didn't bend on Anna's first series. Anna got the ball on their own four yard line. They held on to it for 11 plays but only managed to travel 41 yards.

North Lamar would break the ice on their second possession. They took over at the 23 yard line. Methodically they marched down the field. Ten plays later, they found themselves in the back of the endzone.

(Photo by Maddy Routon) Javon Franklin with the ball carry for North Lamar. 

(Photo by Maddy Routon) Javon Franklin with the ball carry for North Lamar. 

It was the last play of the first quarter and Sam Cowling kept the ball on a quarterback option for a six yard score. Apparently that's all it took to wake up both teams.

Anna would only need 1:20 to go 57 yards to tie the score. Those 57 yards came on three plays too. Their big running back, Daunte Rose, carried it all three times on the drive. It was 57 yards of his 246 that he racked up on the ground for the Coyotes.

Not to be outdone, North Lamar would answer. They would travel 75 yards in three plays, taking only 1:06 off the clock. The big play came from Javon Franklin, who busted one for 58 yards and a score. The extra point would be missed, making the score 13-7.

Anna would score two more times in the quarter to take a 21-13 lead into the half.

Needing a defensive stand, the Panthers would get it to open the half. Steven Wisham tipped the pass to himself and then caught it. Five plays later, Franklin would find the endzone. Down by two, North Lamar chose to attempt a two-point conversion. The attempt failed, however, when Cowling was stopped short of the goal line.

That would be the last score North Lamar would make. Anna would take a couple more drives into the endzone but the offense of North Lamar was stymied by the Coyote defense. Whatever the reason for the slow road starts will need to be corrected quickly as North Lamar still has to go on the road twice more, including next Friday when they face Liberty Eylau.

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Teacher Recognized for Supporting North Lamar Athletes

FootballGreg Higgins
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North Lamar High School teacher Steve Jones, right, earned the "Game Changer Award" by the Panther football team. North Lamar Athletic Director Aaron Emeyabbi, left, presented a signed football to Jones during the homecoming pep rally. The award will be given to teachers that make a difference for student athletes in the classroom and that support them during competition.

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Panthers Give Fans a Homecoming Performance to Remember

FootballGreg Higgins
(Photo by Aaron Routon) Sam Cowling running the ball for North Lamar against Canton

(Photo by Aaron Routon) Sam Cowling running the ball for North Lamar against Canton

The North Lamar Panthers came in to Homecoming with a 2-2 record. They had won their previous two games at home and lost the two played on the road. This could be a great way to head into the bye week.

The Panthers made sure it was great as they cruised to a 42-12 victory over the Canton Eagles. The North Lamar defense was ferocious all night long as well.

The Panthers forced four Canton turnovers. Last week, the offense was unable to capitalize on two Pottsboro interceptions. This week, North Lamar turned the four turnovers into 21 points.

They’ve only had five games in this defense but you got a glimpse of how great it can be.
— Aaron Emeyabbi

All four turnovers happened in the first half on four consecutive possessions. Three of the turnovers were interceptions. Menderiz Gray, Austin Allison and Ty Waggoner all had an interception. Monty Ponder was the defender that recovered the fumble for North Lamar.

After turning the ball over on downs during their first possession, the Panthers got the ball back after an Allison interception near midfield. Seven plays later, Tyler Hill found the endzone on a six yard run. It was his first of three scores on the night.

The next Panther possession started at the Canton 35 after Ponder’s fumble recovery. This time it was senior quarterback Sam Cowling that found the endzone for North Lamar on a 14 yard run. Travis Coston’s extra point made the score 14-0. Coston would hit on all six extra points he attempted on the night.

North Lamar would score once more before the half would end. After Gray intercepted the ball at their own three yard line, the Panthers would march 97 yards in six plays. Javon Franklin would have a 21 and a 22 yard carry in the middle of the drive. That setup Cowling for a 15 yard run for another score. At the half, North Lamar would lead 21-0.

In the first half, the Panthers defense only gave up 99 yards of offense to the Eagles. Canton only had the ball six times, with four of those resulting in turnovers. The other two drives ended in a punt and an unsuccessful fourth down conversion.

(Photo by Aaron Routon) Javon Franklin with a rush against Canton

(Photo by Aaron Routon) Javon Franklin with a rush against Canton

The second half was much of the same. The Canton offense was able to score two touchdowns, but that was all. One of the scores came on a North Lamar turnover. It was the first turnover the Panther offense had since game one against Idabel.

On Canton’s second possession of the half, quarterback Hunter Moore found Zach Brown for a 55 yard touchdown pass. It was the first score of the game for Canton. The extra point attempt was blocked. That made the score 21-6.

North Lamar responded immediately, however, as Hill scored on the third play of the next drive. He took the handoff from Cowling and scampered 47 yards for the score. Hill would score his third touchdown on the next possession. This time on a three yard scamper.

The final Panther score came in the fourth quarter when Franklin broke a run for 39 yards and a score. The Panthers racked up over 500 yards of offense on the night while allowing less that 250 yards to the Eagles.

”The thing about the defense is they don’t have enough snaps in. You have games where they stand tall and bow their necks….They’ve only had five games in this defense but you got a glimpse of how great it can be.” - Head coach Aaron Emeyabbi

North Lamar is now 3-2 on the season and they will have a week off before traveling to Anna in two weeks. This will be the first district game of the year for the Panthers.

Early Deficit too Much for Panthers to Overcome

FootballGreg Higgins
(Photo by Maddy Routon) Ty Waggoner (14), Jeremiah Guenther (21)  and Monty Ponder (72) waiting for the ball to be snapped by Pottsboro.

(Photo by Maddy Routon) Ty Waggoner (14), Jeremiah Guenther (21)  and Monty Ponder (72) waiting for the ball to be snapped by Pottsboro.

A lot of times, football is a game of adjustments. Sometimes these adjustments happen on the fly. While other times, they’re made during the halftime intermission. North Lamar’s 45-28 loss in Pottsboro Friday night was a prime example.

In the first half against Pottsboro, the Panthers had the ball four times. During those four possessions they managed only 117 yards of offense. Three of the four drives ended in punts, while the fourth was a failed fourth down conversion.

Meanwhile the Pottsboro offense had the ball five times. Three of their possessions ended with points. The other two ended with Menderiz Gray interceptions.

Playing in his first game for Pottsboro, Hunter Watson threw both of the interceptions. The 6’4 junior transfer from Denison is one of the top baseball prospects in Texas. His first pass for the Cardinals was a deep ball down the sideline. Gray read the play perfectly and was able to make the interception.

The next possession for Pottsboro ended in the same way. Watson once again tried going deep down the sideline and Gray was there instead of the intended receiver.

North Lamar also suffered from holding penalties on back-to-back plays that hurt late in the second quarter. The Panthers offense had a 31 yard run and a 25 yard run called back. Instead of having the ball in Cardinal territory, North Lamar was backed deep in their own end.

(Photo by Maddy Routon) The North Lamar offense waiting on a play from the sideline.

(Photo by Maddy Routon) The North Lamar offense waiting on a play from the sideline.

Facing a 17-0 deficit at halftime, the Panthers coaching staff would try to work their magic to get their team back into the ball game. Whatever adjustments were made at halftime worked. The offensive problems that plagued North Lamar in the first half seemed to disappear.

”We finally started blocking the right people and we were finally able to get to play.” - Aaron Emeyabbi on the halftime adjustments

The Panthers had the ball five times in the second half and they found the endzone on four of them. The only possession that didn’t end in a score was the last possession when the game ended.

The offense managed over 280 yards in the second half. It all started on the first drive when North Lamar went 62 yards in only four plays. Sam Cowling capped off the drive with a 39 yard touchdown run.

The second drive of the half was similar. The Panthers went 61 yards in six plays. This time, though, it was Javon Franklin with a 19 yard scoring run.

Not to be left out, Tyler Hill would find the endzone next for North Lamar. His 14 yard scamper would cap off a thee play, 72 yard drive.

The final touchdown would come at the 1:40 mark of the fourth quarter. Once again Cowling would break open a huge run for the score. This time it was a 40 yard run.

Defensively, though, the Panthers still couldn’t stop the Cardinal offense. Pottsboro matched North Lamar score for score in the second half.

The main difference was the clock. All four of North Lamar’s scoring drives were under two minutes. Pottsboro had one drive that lasted over six minutes and another that was just under four.

North Lamar also had to deal with three different quarterbacks that all played at any given time in any circumstance. Watson, the junior transfer, also added a running dimension for Pottsboro. He only had 26 yards passing, but he led the team in rushing with 115 yards and three touchdowns.

Pottsboro had the ball nine times and scored on seven of them. The two drives that ended in interceptions were the only exceptions to that. With Pottsboro being ranked in the top ten in Texas by Dave Campbell, it was a good test for North Lamar. The second half was encouraging.

”These guys don’t quit. They showed it right there. With all the adversity they went through. A lot of teams fold up and make the score way worse. Our kids kept fighting until the very last second. That’s all you can ask for from a football team.” - Emeyabbi

North Lamar will be home next Friday night against Canton for homecoming. Kickoff is set for 7:30 at R.L. Maddox Stadium.