In 2016, the North Lamar Panthers struggled on the road as their only victory came against Quinlan Ford late in the season. With six games away from R.L. Maddox stadium, the Panthers hope to reverse the road outcomes this season.
The confidence got a huge boost in their season opener as they defeated Leander Glenn 37-27 at Kennedale High School. Due to UIL rules, the rematch with Idabel had to be scratched. Coach Aaron Emeyabbi was able to find a team just northwest of Austin that was willing to play.
The game got off to a rocky start for the Panthers. North Lamar received the opening kickoff and went backwards. The defensive line for the Grizzlies caused three straight running plays to end up with negative yardage. North Lamar was forced to punt.
Leander Glenn got the ball at their own 34 yard line and methodically moved the ball down the field. They took the ball down the field and put themselves in position to take an early lead over North Lamar. With a second and goal situation from the five yard line, quarterback Khorin Thompson took the snap and was headed to the end zone. It was sophomore Kobey Emeyabbi, though, that got his hand in the way and stripped the ball from the quarterback. North Lamar recovered the fumble at the three yard line.
Another three and out gave the ball back to Leander Glenn. The Grizzlies were set up with great field position after an outstanding punt return. However a holding penalty set them up at the 40 yard line. This time they would find the end zone. Thompson would secure the ball and scamper in from three yards out.
Trailing 7-0, the Panthers offense woke up. After managing only five yards in their first two possessions, North Lamar would rack up 336 yards on their next five touches with five touchdowns. The first drive went 74 yards in 10 plays, capped by a Tyler Hill 13 yard touchdown run. Travis Coston would nail the extra-point to tie the game.
The next Leander Glenn possession would present a great opportunity for the North Lamar defense. On their third play of the drive, backup quarterback Drew McGuire dropped back to pass at the Panther 40 yard line. His pass went down the middle of the field right into the hands of Hill at the 25. Hill brought the ball back to the 40 yard line for North Lamar. Two plays later, Jeremiah Guenther took a handoff from Jay Walters and went 59 yards to the house.
Leander Glenn would answer on their next possession to tie the game 14-14. The next offensive possession for North Lamar would show their versatility as Walters connected with Seybian Holt for a 29 yard touchdown pass. Holt, got the defender to bite on a short fake and then blew by him on the outside edge. Walters threw a dart right on the money. Holt caught it at the 10 and was able to easily get to the goal line.
With a 21-14 lead, and Leander Glenn threatening before halftime, it was the defense that would once again come up big. Facing a third and 15 from the North Lamar 16 yard line, Thompson dropped back to pass. He lobbed it to the corner of the end zone where he had a receiver. Josh Dangerfield was also there. He out-leaped the Grizzly receiver and hauled in the interception. North Lamar would take a seven point lead into the locker room.
The first offensive play from scrimmage for the Panthers in the second half was a 43 yard run by Guenther. The play was made possible, though, because of more outstanding defense from the Panthers. This time it wasn’t a turnover. North Lamar was able to hold Leander Glenn at midfield and force a punt. Guenther’s run set up Emeyabbi on a one yard scoring run. The point after attempt turned into two points as a botched snap allowed Holt to scamper in for the two points.
With a 15 point lead, North Lamar looked like they were on their way to a sure victory. Leander Glenn had different ideas, though. With 3:10 to play in the third quarter, Julian Morris scored on an eight yard run for the Grizzlies. The two point conversion was no good. The ensuing kickoff would be disastrous for North Lamar. Pedro Soto kicked the ball from the 40 and the ball landed between two North Lamar players. It was Leander Glenn, though, who fell on the ball for the recovery at the Panther 43 yard line. A little over 30 seconds later, Morris was in the end zone once again to make the score 29-27.
Clinging to a two point lead the Panthers needed to sustain a long scoring drive and that’s exactly what they did. North Lamar went 57 yards in 12 plays and ate up over five minutes on the clock. This time it was Dee Wilson who found the end zone on an eight yard run. Walters hit Hunter Moore in the back of the end zone for the two point conversion.
Both teams would trade punts on their next possessions. It was the Panthers defense that would put the final nail in the coffin, though. With just over three minutes to play in the game, Thompson threw another interception. This time it was Holt with the catch for North Lamar. The Panthers offense ran out the clock to preserve the 37-27 victory. North Lamar is now 1-0 on the season and will be in Mt. Pleasant next Friday night.