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.
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.