The North Lamar Panthers travelled south to face the Princeton Panthers on Friday night. NL came into the game searching for their first district win, while Princeton was tied for the district lead at 2-0. NL looked to continue the offensive success they had seen the week before while improving on defense and eliminating mistakes. After all, giving up an average of 46 points and 1.5 turnovers per game in district play will not get you in the win column.
The game had the feel of a defensive struggle at the beginning as a battle for field position dominated the scoreless 1st quarter. With the NL offense struggling, it looked like the defense would have to keep them in the game. Unfortunately there were three plays in a 7-second span that completely changed the trajectory of the game.
The NL defense did a great job containing a potent Princeton offense for the first 18 minutes of the game, giving up yards but no big plays. This would end as Jalaydon Hill would take the ball around the left side, carrying four NL defenders for the last few yards into the end zone. This gave Princeton a 7-0 lead with 5:57 left in the half. A pooch kick on the subsequent kickoff fell between two lines of NL receivers who reacted too slowly to stop Princeton from recovering. On the very next play, Brendon Strickland hit Jacob Purdon for a 32 yard TD pass. NL did block the PAT, but Princeton now had a 13-0 lead with 5:50 left in the half. 7 seconds...complete change of game trajectory.
NL would give up another TD in the 3rd before finally getting on the scoreboard. Gaining only 33 yards on offense in the 1st half, they would drive 63 yards to score. Jeremiah Guenther provided the lone score for your Panthers taking a handoff from Jay Walters and running it in from 4 yards out. Travis Coston added the extra point to reduce the deficit to 21-7.
Princeton's offense would score one more touchdown while their defense would seal the victory with a pick six in the last minute of the game.
North Lamar now sits at 0-3 in district and will face Quinlan Ford (0-3) on Friday. Kickoff is at 7:30 at R L Maddox stadium or you can listen on Mix 107.7 with coverage starting at 7:00.