Once again, a 35-7 final score does not reflect the true nature of the football game Friday night. Although, the Panthers were on the wrong end of the score, there's a lot to build on from this game.
When you consider the Panthers were facing another top ten team in 3A, North Lamar can walk away with some confidence. Until just over a minute left in the game, the North Lamar defense had held the Bulldogs to only 272 yards of total offense. The Bulldogs scored their final touchdown at the 1:06 mark of the fourth quarter on a 92 yard run, putting them over 350 total yards for the game.
Jefferson only put together one notable scoring drive in the game. The drive took 11 plays as the offense went 86 yards, ending in a touchdown. That's it, though. The only other drive they had of significance was a nine play drive that stalled out and ended with a punt.
On one drive for Jefferson, they had the ball on the five yard line and were facing a first and goal. The North Lamar defense once again stood tall. Not only did Jefferson not score on the drive, they were forced to punt the ball as the defense pushed them back to the 35 yard line.
"Once again they were phenomenal," head coach Aaron Emeyabbi said about his defense after the game. "As much points as they've been putting up all year against good football teams and for us to go out there and play like we did defensively. I thought our kids did a good job containing their speed because they are fast. They broke loose a few times but I couldn't be more excited about the defense.”
The North Lamar offense got rolling early. For the second week in a row they would score the opening touchdown of the game. After the defense stopped the Bulldogs on a fourth down play to open the game, the Panthers took over at midfield. Eight plays later, Trenton Smith walked into the end zone for the North Lamar touchdown.
Unfortunately for the offense, that's the only points they would get on the night. They had some other scoring chances but were unable to capitalize. North Lamar opened the third quarter with an impressive drive. The Panthers chewed up nearly seven minutes of game clock on the drive. It ended with a missed field goal try. Favian Morales, who hit from 48 yards last year against Crandall, missed to the right on a 45 yard attempt Friday.
North Lamar had the ball one more time inside the 25 but was unable to score as they turned the ball over on downs. Jefferson's three other scores came off a one-play, 61 yard touchdown run, an interception returned for a touchdown and an eight yard touchdown reception.
Offensively, North Lamar was led in the ground attack by Smith, who finished with 72 yards rushing. Andy Kirk had 38 yards on the ground. Seth Parker and Matthew Sandlin both finished with 23 yards. TaDray Wilson had 13 while Kobey Emeyabbi finished with eight.
North Lamar will open district play next Friday night at Anna with a 7:30 kickoff.