It’s hard to imagine a game being over before it started, but that’s about how it happened for the North Lamar Panthers Friday night. North Lamar took on the Quinlan Ford Panthers on the road and easily took care of business in route to a 47-18 victory.
North Lamar didn’t waste any time Friday night, either. Twelve seconds into the game and the Panthers were already on the scoreboard. Julique Franklin took the opening kickoff 62 yards for the touchdown.
North Lamar didn’t stop there, thanks to their defense. The defense of the Panthers forced a three and out on the next series for Quinlan Ford. Deep in their own territory, Quinlan decided to punt the ball. It was a bad snap from center, however, and the punter had to try and make a play. He was tackled and the ball was turned over to North Lamar.
The first play of the next series, Versache Buchanan took the ball to the house for another North Lamar score. Just like that, the Panthers had a 13-0 lead. They wouldn’t stop, though. The defense caused a fumble on the 14 yard line and North Lamar would once again capitalize. This time, though, it was Javon Franklin getting into the act.
“We didn’t really have the ball on offense and we’re up by three scores,” head coach Tim Billings said about the game.
North Lamar was up 19-0 at this point and we hadn’t played four minutes in the game. North Lamar, at this point had racked up 30 yards of total offense and one first down. Statistically, though, Quinlan Ford dominated. North Lamar only had seven first downs on the night. Quinlan Ford had 21. North Lamar’s offense only put up 232 total yards as opposed to 363 for Quinlan Ford.
These odd numbers, though, can be attributed to the differing styles of offense these two play. North Lamar only ran 30 plays on offense as opposed to 72 by the home-town Panthers. North Lamar, as they have done most of the year, struck early in the series.
Of course this was aided by the fact that Quinlan Ford turned the ball over four times. The North Lamar defense was active with stripping the ball and causing the turnovers. After five giveaways last week, North Lamar only turned the ball over one time Friday night.
In the third quarter, with the score 40-12, Versache decided to keep the ball instead of handing it off to Javon. As he tried tucking the ball in his arm, the ball squirted free and Quinlan Ford jumped on it. The ensuing possession, the defense for North Lamar would cause a fumble and get the ball back.
After Quinlan Ford in the third quarter to make the game 33-12, North Lamar would strike back on the first play of their next drive. With the ball on the North Lamar 42 yard line, Versache hit Menderiz Gray on a wide receiver screen. Gray did the rest as he scampered down the sideline for a 58 yard touchdown.
North Lamar would score once more on a 30 yard pass from Versache to Julique. Julique scored three times in the game, including two passes and the opening kickoff return.
“He’s getting better and better,” Coach Billings said after the game about his receiver. “He’s starting to take ownership of some things and working hard. I was excited about him. I thought he played really well.”
North Lamar will now turn their attention to the Princeton Panthers, who visit R.L. Maddox stadium next Friday night. Princeton comes in with a 2-0 district record after defeating Paris High 49-42. Kickoff is set for 7:30.