In the first half of their game against the S&S Rams, the North Lamar Panthers ran a total of 20 plays on offense. The final play of the half was a quick run to let the time expire before halftime. In the previous 19 plays, the Panthers scored 41 points in route to a 51-21 victory on senior night.
“I thought we were very efficient offensively,” coach Tim Billings said after the game.
Efficient might be an understatement. Senior quarterback Versache Buchanan was 7-7 with 149 yards passing and two touchdowns in the half. He also had five rushes for 64 yards and another touchdown. Javon Franklin had four rushes for 76 yards in the half and a couple of scores. He also added another touchdown on a 56 yard reception. Those three touchdowns give Javon 10 for the year.
It wasn’t all about the offense, though. North Lamar’s defense held S&S to only 193 total yards and caused two turnovers. The very first play of the game, as a matter of fact, was a turnover by the Panthers’ defense.
Menderiz Gray cut in front of an intended target to pick off a pass from S&S quarterback Devin Orr. Gray returned the ball down to the 29 yard line. It was Gray's fourth interception in three games. Four plays later, Javon found the end zone on a five yard scamper. The next North Lamar drive started on their own 36 yard line. Five plays later, Buchanan ran 39 yards for the score on a quarterback option play. Just like that, it was 14-0 in favor of the Panthers.
S&S put together a nice five minute drive of their own and capped it off with a 19 yard touchdown run by Cameron Prewitt. Once again, though, it didn’t take North Lamar long to regain their 14 point advantage. North Lamar went 70 yards in four plays, capped off by a 56 yard screen pass from Buchanan to Ja. Franklin.
Down 21-7, S&S decided to go for a fourth and 10 from their own 43 yard line. The North Lamar defense came up huge and stopped Orr on a quarterback keeper after a gain of three yards. The next play, Buchanan found Gray for a 46 yard touchdown pass. North Lamar now had a 27-7 lead with 8:47 to play in the first half.
S&S would turn the ball over on their next possession as Orr fumbled and Tyler Biard recovered on the S&S 32 yard line. Four plays later, Tyler Hill would take the ball 18 yards for the score. S&S would fumble the ensuing kickoff return and Seybian Holt recovered at the North Lamar 40 yard line. The next play, Ja. Franklin took the ball 60 yards to the house. North Lamar now held a commanding 41-7 lead with 5:57 to play in the first half.
That would be the last action for the night for starters like Buchanan and Ja. Franklin. Matt Gibbons would come in and take over at quarterback. Hill and Stephon Bass would split time in the back field for the Panthers. They would tack on 10 more points in the second half, thanks to a Nick West 25 yard field goal and a 66 yard pass from Gibbons to Hill.
The Panthers will try to go 4-0 for the second straight year as they face Anna next Friday night on the road.