Panthers battle Bears, fall 36-11

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : October 17, 2012

Mabank Panther football

Monitor Photo/Sam Epps
Mabank Panther quarterback Rance Thorne (7) looks for an open receiver while offensive linemen Nathan Key (77) and Cody Kuykendall (63) provide plenty of protection with strong blocking.

By Sam Epps
Sports Editor

MABANK–The hosting Mabank Panthers were downed by the Brownsboro Bears in the Panthers’ District 15-3A opener Friday.
Despite the score, the Panthers showed marked improvement in all aspects of the game.
“That was probably the best game we’ve played as far as effort and knowing our assignments,” Mabank head coach Jared Wingfield said.
With improved decision-making by quarterback Rance Thorne, and an increase in hustle and technique, the score was not indicative of the game.
“We didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we gave ourselves at times,” Wingfield said. “And negative things seemed to happen at the worst possible times.”
Brownsboro opened the game by scoring nine points in the first quarter. The first score came on a 33-yard interception return.
The second score came after a strong kick by Brownsboro left Mabank with their backs to the endzone. Running back Clay Gaddis took a handoff and quickly was surrounded by Bear defenders, and nowhere to run. He was tackled in the endzone for a Brownsboro safety.
In the second quarter, Brownsboro scored first on a long pass play, adding seven points to the bears’ score.
Four minutes later, the Panthers marched the ball down field but couldn’t slip into the endzone, settling on a 28-yard field goal by kicker Korey Roberts, leaving the Bears with a 16-3 halftime advantage.
Halfway through the third quarter, Brownsboro scored the first of their 13 points on a three-yard run. The PAT was good, putting the Bears on top 23-3.
With little more than three minutes left in the quarter, Brownsboro again scored. This time, it was a five-yard Walker run.
Mabank added eight points in the fourth quarter, while holding Brownsboro to seven.
After a strong drive, Thorne shot into the endzone from three yards out to score.
The Panthers opted for a two-point conversion, which added two points after Corey Thompson tossed the ball to Jhon Leon.
Brownsboro scored their last touchdown on a three-yard run by Shelby Rogers. The PAT was good, leaving the score at its final – 36-11.
“Our defense played very well against Brownsboro,” Wingfield said. “I’m about as happy as I could be with a loss.”
Both teams racked up 14 first downs in the matchup, and the Panthers accumulated almost 300 total yards.
Brownsboro gained slightly more yards, approximately 350.
The Panthers had more than 125 rushing yards, with Thorne and Gaddis each having almost 50 yards each.
Thorne also completed 11 of 33 attempts for almost 170 yards.
Panther receiver Dylan Schneider had five catches for almost 120 yards.
With the consistent improvement in ways only coaches truly appreciate, Mabank seems on the verge of breaking out in a big way. “Our kids know where they are now, and what they need to do to be a championship team.”
Injuries have played a part in a changing lineup for the Panthers week to week.
It seems, however, they are almost at full strength with just one lingering injury that is still being evaluated.
Defensively, Wingfield noted the strong play of Christian Wilson. “He led the team in tackles against Brownsboro,” Wingfield stated.
Mabank will travel to Canton Friday to face the Eagles.
Last week, Canton defeated the Athens Hornets, 48-23, and currently hold a 5-1 season record.
Canton brings a strong defense to field, and have an offense somewhat similar to Brownsboro.
“We will worry more about what we do and how we play the game,” Wingfield said. “Our kids know this game will come down to heart and effort.”