The North Lamar Panthers wanted to speed the game up this year. The plan was to run an offensive play every 15 to 20 seconds. Not only were they successful, they nailed it flawlessly against Commerce.
The offensive line - Ryder Bryant, Alex Moore, Jansen Spann, Casey Harper and Austin Poole - had no problem adjusting to the scheme. As a matter of fact, the entire offense as a whole played pretty much flawlessly as well. North Lamar, as a team, only had three penalties on the night.
North Lamar came out of the gate strong, scoring two touchdowns on their first five offensive plays. They racked up 200 yards of total offense in the first quarter. For the game, the Panthers averaged 27.29 yards per passing play and 7.0 yards per rushing attempt.
"I thought we played really well," Head Coach Tim Billings said after the game. "They have one of those defenses where they brought everybody....I kept telling [the team] let's limit the ammount of [bad plays]."
Of course, the North Lamar defense deserves credit as well. Three different times on the night, Commerce moved the ball inside the 30 yard line for North Lamar and were unalbe to come away with any points.
Defensive Coordinator Chris Clark had his team ready to play and it showed. The big play on defense came in the fourth quarter. Commerce had moved the ball to the 35 yard line of North Lamar. Quarterback Cameron Scott dropped back to pass and slung the ball across the middle of the field. Trey Scudder got a great jump on the play and intercepted the ball at the 25 yard line. Scudder took the interception 75 yards for the score, sealing the win for the Panthers.
"I was just trying to get the defense off the field," Scudder said. "When it got close to me, my eyes got wide. When I picked it off, I saw the quarterback was the only one close to me....I just turned on the jets."
It didn't take North Lamar long to open the scoring on the night, either. North Lamar took their opening drive 79 yards in two plays. The first was a 33 yard pass from Versache Buchanan to Julique Franklin. The next play was a 46 yard touchdown run by Javon Franklin. Just like that North Lamar had a lead less than two minutes into the game.
After Menderiz Gray picked off a pass at the 18 yard line, the North Lamar offense would score once again. On the third play of the drive, Buchanan hit Javon on a screen pass. Javon showed his speed and quickness as he ran down the sideline for an 80-yard touchdown. At the 6:28 mark of the first quarter, North Lamar held onto a 14-0 lead.
North Lamar would have to punt on their next possession, but found the endzone on their fourth. This time it was Versache finding with the score to cap off a 10 play, 68 yard drive. Nick West, who was called on last week to be the place kicker, made the score 21-7 after the extra point.
After a Commerce touchdown, Ashton Chaffin returned a kickoff all the way down to the Commerce 16 yard line. A holding play backed the Panthers up ten yards, but that didn't stop Versache from finding the endzone again. Buchanan kept the ball on an option play and scampered to the goal line to give the Panthers a 27-13 lead at the half.
Both teams would trade a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter. North Lamar's would come at the hands of Ty Waggoner, who caught a 10 yard pass from Buchanan.
The fourth quarter would see a pair of touchdowns from North Lamar. First Javon found the endzone on a one yard run at the 11:11 mark of the quarter. Then, a minute and a half later, Trey had his interception return for a touchdown.
"I told [the team]," Billings said. "If we would just stay patient, at the same time with them making some big plays we would make some big plays. The good news is we made more big plays than they did."
Commerce ran 22 more plays than the Panthers offense. However, North Lamar outgained Commerce by 60 yards. The defense forced three turnovers on the night. All in all, it was a great night for the North Lamar Panthers to start the season. North Lamar will be on the road next week as well as they face Whitesboro. Kick off will be at 7:30.
Versache Buchanan: 191 yards, 2 TD
Javon Franklin: 129 yards, 2 TD
Versache Buchanan: 126 yards, 2 TD
Tyler Hill: 19 yards
Julique Franklin: 78 yards
Javon Franklin: 80 yards, 1 TD
Tyler HIll: 20 yards
Ty Waggoner: 13 yards, 1 TD