Five. That's how many yards the Panthers needed to beat Greenville on Friday night. Faced with a 4th and goal with the ball spotted just inside the Greenville 5-yard line, 31 seconds left to play, Kobey Emeyabbi (2) lined up the offense for one last shot to win this game.
North Lamar came into Greenville on Friday for their 3rd straight road game against a 5A opponent. Looking to move to 2-1 in the toughest preseason schedule that the Panthers have had in some time, NL would have their hands full with an up and coming Greenville team led by junior QB, Caleb Jarvis.
Greenville looked to set the tone of the game, starting with an 8 play, 73 yard drive that was capped off with a 15 yard TD run by Nick Mapps just over 3 minutes into the game. The Panthers were able to get a first down on their first drive, but were forced to punt as the drive stalled out. Just four plays later, Mapps would fumble the ball and Hunter Moore (34) would recover for the Panthers at their 41 yard line. Facing a 4th and 3 from the Greenville 37 yard, QB Jay Walters (1) dashed through the defense for a TD. Travis Coston (3) tacked on the PAT to give NL a 7-7 tie as the first quarter wound down.
In an action-packed second quarter that would see 31 points scored, Greenville quickly responded with a drive that took 1:13 to score. Jarvis gave his team the 14-7 lead with a 17 yard scamper. NL would answer with a quick drive of its own, taking 5 plays to move 53 yards. Jeremiah Guenther (10) punched the ball in from 3 yards out and Coston converted the PAT to tie the game 14-14. Greenville would score quickly on its next two drives to take a 28-14 lead. After NL lost a fumble at their own 26 yard line, it looked like Greenville would blow the game open. Seybian Holt (13) would change that with an interception on the very next play to give NL the ball. With Walters out of the game, Emeyabbi led the Panthers down the field and Coston kicked a 24 yard field goal as the clock expired to cut the Greenville lead to 28-17 at the half.
NL took the opening drive of the 2nd half, holding the ball for more than six minutes before Guenther scored with a 6 yard run. Emeyabbi converted the 2 point PAT to cut the lead to 28-25. Greenville responded with a five minute drive of their own and looked to extend their lead when Jarvis fumbled at the NL 13. Kevin Woods (14) recovered for the Panthers. Emeyabbi would lead the Panthers down the field, scoring with a 30 yard run on a 4th and inches to give NL their first lead of the night with 9:32 left in the game. A costly missed PAT resulted in NL leading 31-28. Greenville would answer with a TD to take back the lead at 35-31.
NL had the ball back with 5:10 left in the game. Fighting through illness that had slowed him down all week, Emeyabbi led NL down the field to a 4th and goal on the five yard line with 31 seconds on the clock. As the offense approached the line of scrimmage, coach Aaron Emeyabbi was sprinting down the sideline screaming for a timeout. Almost unbelievably the officials were unable to see or hear him and did not give him the timeout. The ball was snapped, Emeyabbi rolled to his right and threw a pass to Holt in the back corner of the end zone. The pass fell incomplete and sealed the 35-31 victory for Greenville.
NL falls to 1-2 in spite of dominating time of possession, winning the turnover battle and successfully moving the ball. Though obviously disappointed with the loss, Coach Emeyabbi was proud of the fight and effort demonstrated by his team.
The Panthers will finally have their first home game of the season as they host Pottsboro for homecoming next Friday. Join us at RL Maddox stadium for the 7:30 kickoff.