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.
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.