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CONROE, Texas-- -The sun was just beginning to set at Moorhead stadium as the captains from Caney Creek and Porter met at midfield. After winning the coin toss, the Panther’s deferred possession, giving the Spartan’s the ball to start the game.
The Spartan’s first score of the night was set up by wide receiver Avery Hernandez, who managed to fight through his initial tackler and break up the side line, setting the Spartan’s up at the 1-yard line. On the next play, Spartan Quarterback number 17, Zane Russel, finished the drive himself on a quarterback draw.
The Panthers offense responded well on the next drive. Turning to their imposing ground attack, running back Gabe Garcia marched the team to the 10-yard line. However, the Spartan defense tightened up in the red zone, forcing the Panthers to kick a field goal, bringing the score to 7-3.
On the next possession for the Spartan’s, wasting no time, Russel found wide receiver Trevor Clark streaking completely uncovered down the right hash marks. Clark would log over 55 yards and a touchdown on the catch, and just like that, the Spartans found themselves back up by two scores.
Opening the second quarter the Spartans offense began to pour it on. Running back number 17 Carlos Norman began eating up chunk yardage, utilizing his vision and speed to tear through the defense. Norman has great patience behind his blockers and when he makes his cut to the outside he is incredibly hard to catch. As Norman wore out the defense on the ground, Russel picked the Panthers apart through the air, finding wide receiver Taylor Baker number 13 twice on the drive. Baker’s second catch was in the back corner of the end zone to put Spartan’s up 21-3.
The Panther’s responded on the following kick off. Returner, number 14 Dylan Trotter, would find a hole and break down the left sideline and was tackled just short of the goal line. Despite the impressive return, the Panther’s offense would not be able to capitalize, opting to kick the field goal on third down after a strong defensive stop by the Spartans.
On the following drive, the Spartans offense worked its way down the field yet again, showing no signs of slowing down. From the 15-yard line, Russel dropped back to pass into the end zone, when Panther’s defensive back Ulises Villantes broke free of the right side for the sack. On the next play, Russel would try to throw it into a tight window and Panther’s defensive back number 7, Mark Brockoeft, came up with an interception in the back of the end zone.
The Panther’s offense continued to struggle to take advantage of their opportunities all night. After defensive back number 7, Mark Brockoeft intercepted Russel in the back of end zone, the quarterback fumbled the snap on the very next play, giving the ball right back to the Spartans on the five-yard- line. Russel punched it in on a quarterback keeper for his fourth touchdown of the night, bringing the score to 28-6 just before half.
To the Panther’s credit, the team showed a lot of fight to open the second half. The defense shut out the Spartan’s offense throughout the third quarter, leading to two punts.
The Panther’s offense also showed up on a drive just before for the end of the third quarter. Quarterback Julian Hernandez logged the Panther’s first touchdown of the night off a read option from 10 yards out. Going into the fourth quarter the Spartans lead 28-13.
The Panthers would find themselves within striking distance yet again after a botched punt from the Spartans half way through the fourth quarter. Hernandez, again showing off how dangerous he is with the ball in his hands, was able to punch it in from the 15-yard- line. After a failed two- point conversion attempt, the score remained at 28-19.
The Spartan’s effectively iced the game on their next possession. Working to run down the clock, the Spartan’s turned to Norman in the run game. Norman was able to take in his first touchdown of the night from ten yards out, leaving the Panthers down two scores with two minutes left on the clock.
Despite the situation, the Panthers continued to show their resiliency. On a delayed screen, Hernandez found #21 Spencer Brandon who found open field down the numbers and broke away for the 40-yard touchdown. Hernandez ran in the two –point conversion, and after a failed onside kick attempt, the game came to a close with a Porter victory, 35-27.
Next week on Oct. 13th the Panther’s go on the road to face Crosby Cougars as the Spartan’s turn their attention to the Dayton Broncos at home.