By Erik Walsh
Monitor Sports Editor
MABANK–Mabank fans got to go home happy after a 34-28 Homecoming victory over Lake Area rival Kemp Sept. 18 at Panther Stadium.
Spirit was high for the home crowd packing the stands on the eventful night and it didn’t take long to give them something to cheer for. Just 1:34 into the game Zane Koskelin found his way into the end zone for Mabank’s first of many touchdowns to send the fans into a frenzy. The extra point was good and Mabank led 7-0.
Kemp took over the ball after the kickoff and pushed the ball deep into Mabank territory with the help of a Panther defensive penalty giving Kemp the ball on the Mabank 12 yard-line. After a Yellowjackets penalty they were forced into a third and 12 situation. Kemp quarterback Dreyson Watters found a receiver in the back of the end zone, but was broken up by a Mabank defender to preserve the 7-0 lead. Rather than attempt a fourth and long, Kemp Head Coach Brandon Hankins elected to kick a field goal that ultimately went wide.
On the first play after getting the ball back, Mabank trilled the crowd again. The offensive line gave Clay Carson a hole the size of the grand canyon and the running back took the handoff 88 yards to pay dirt and the Panthers second touchdown. After the successful PAT, Mabank was quickly up 14-0 at the 3:35 mark.
Kemp’s next possession was plagued by offensive penalties and was forced to punt. The Panthers took over at the Kemp 44-yard line as the first quarter came to an end. After switching sides of the field for the quarter change, the Panthers offensive line and run game continued to shine. Carson and Trent Cantrell took turns powering the ball downfield before Cantrell broke a 20-yard run for another Panther touchdown. After the successful PAT, Mabank opened a 21-0 lead. Carson finished the night with 267 yards to go with his two scores.
Despite the early deficit, the Yellowjackets were determined to make a game out of it. After Mabank forced a touchback on the kickoff, Kemp took over on the 25-yard line. A five-yard run set the Yellowjackets up with a second and five, then Dreyson Watters hooked up with streaking wide receiver Elijah Gardener for a 70-yard touchdown pass that put Kemp on the scoreboard at the 9:37 mark. The extra point was good and Mabank’s lead fell to 21-7.
The Panthers returned the kickoff to the 22-yard line, then Mabank’s strong offensive line continued its dominance. Carson took the handoff 78 yards into the end zone for the second big run and touchdown of the night. The Panthers missed the extra point and led 27-7.
Without much time remaining in the first half, the Yellowjackets were forced to pass in an attempt to quickly move the ball downfield. The Panther defense was able to hold Kemp at bay as the first half came to a close. After the Homecoming halftime festivities introduced senior Chesney Sinclair as the new Mabank Queen, the Yellowjackets and Panthers took the field again.
This time Kemp got the ball first after returning the kickoff to the 29-yard line. The ’Jackets offense mixed a balanced run and pass game to move the ball downfield before Cain Johnson took a handoff 27 yards into the end zone for a touchdown. The first attempt at an extra point was no good, but a Mabank offside penalty gave Kemp a second kick attempt. The second time it was good and Mabank led 27-14.
The ensuing kickoff sailed into the end zone for a touchback and Mabank took over at its own 25-yard line. Carson got the offense going again with two carries to move the ball to the Mabank 40-yard line. Ty Winkelvoss found some room to run with a 20 plus yard gain that gave the Panthers field position inside Yellowjackets territory on the 46-yard line. After moving the chains one more time, quarterback Adrian Higginbotham connected a play-action bootleg pass that found Koskelin open for a touchdown. The PAT was good and Mabank led 34-14.
Kemp took over after a touchback and Dreyson Watters quickly moved the ball downfield with a pass to the Kemp 46-yard line. A run by his older brother Braxton gave Kemp another first down and the drive continued until the Yellowjacketes reached the Mabank 17-yard line. Dreyson Watters found a receiver in the end zone for a would-be touchdown, but the score was called back on a holding call. Facing long yardage to gain a first down and needing to score a touchdown to stay in the game, Kemp was forced to pass. The Panthers defense played well and stopped Kemp in their tracks, forcing a turnover on downs after a Dreyson Watters TD pass attempt didn’t find his target.
Mabank got the ball back and moved the chains to Kemp’s side of the field with more excellent running from Carson before stalling and turning the ball over on downs itself on the Kemp 39. On the ’Jackets next possession, the run game came alive and got the ball deep into Mabank territory again. Kemp stayed off the scoreboard when Dreyson Watters had another would-be touchdown called back due to holding after making a mad dash into the end zone. Facing another fourth and long, Dreyson Watters ended up throwing an interception to Mabank defender Cantell in the end zone looking for a touchdown.
The Panthers took over the ball after that and began to run the clock out with less than five minutes to play. Kemp did all they could to get back into the game by scoring two late touchdowns to move the score to 34-28, but did not have enough time on the clock to ultimately overcome its deficit.
After the Mabank win, both teams records sit at 2-2 on the season. Mabank will be playing 3-A standout Teague on the road Sept. 25, and Kemp will host Farmersville at Yellowjacket Stadium in Kemp.
Posted by : September 24, 2015| On :
By Erik Walsh
Posted by : September 20, 2015| On :
By Erik Walsh
Monitor Sports Editor
KEMP–The host Lady Yellowjackets lost a close five-set series to the visiting Scurry-Rosser Lady Wildcats Sept. 15 in front of an energetic and spirited home crowd.
The Lady ’Jackets came out blazing with a 25-19 first set victory. Leading the way was Emily Mullens with four kills, Sarah Farley with eight digs, Chasity Rodriguez with 10 assists, Lucy Anderson with two blocks and Hannah Hocsh with two blocks.
Kemp was backed into a hole after dropping the second and third sets 25-14 and 25-15. Stat leaders for the Lady Jackets for sets two and three were Cortney Crapazano with 7 kills, Anderson with seven digs, and Rodriguez with 14 assists.
The Lady ’Jackets and Lady ’Cats went to the fifth set battle and fought with each other point for point and kill for kill. Anderson had five kills, Madison Thompson added three, and Sarah Farley had 12 digs.
While the Lady ’Jackets effort wasn’t enough to secure the win, Head Coach Liz Henning was proud of how hard the team fought to stay in the game.
“Even though we fell short, the Lady ’Jackets proved to everyone in the gym they are a force to be reckoned with,” Henning said. “They were able to find that spark. I am so proud of all 12 of my girls.”
The loss drops Kemp to 0-2 in district play. Their next match is Sept. 22 in Sunnyvale.
Posted by : September 17, 2015| On :
By Erik Walsh
EUSTACE–A bobbled snap and successful Bulldogs two-point conversion in the final minutes of the game sealed a 20-17 victory for Eustace over its Lake Area rival, the Mabank Panthers Sept. 11 at Bulldog Stadium.
The first half was dictated by strong defense by both teams, an extended field possession battle, and a costly turnover to finally give Eustace a touchdown and the lead.
Mabank nearly scored on the opening kickoff, finally getting stopped by the Eustace kicker and last man on the Mabank 46-yard line. The Panthers couldn’t get anything going on offense, as quarterback Adrian Higginbotham was sacked to stuff out the drive. Mabank elected to punt on fourth and long and it was a good one, settling on the Eustace 13-yard line.
The Bulldogs got all the yards back from that punt and more with a drive that secured multiple first downs, including a long run by Micah Stone to sit the ball on Mabank’s 40 yard-line. After the big gain, the Panthers held the line and Eustace was forced to punt. Mabank took over on its own 17-yard line.
After a holding pushed Mabank back to the 7-yard line, Tony Ogburn got the Panthers in more comfortable territory with 22-yard run that secured a first down. Higginbotham was sacked again and Mabank was forced to punt a second time as the first quarter came to a close.
Eustace took over the ball with excellent field possession in Mabank territory. Eustace moved the chains and threatened to score, but the Panthers defense pushed back the Bulldogs to a third and 10 at the Mabank 21-yard line. The Bulldogs couldn’t get the first down and Eustace was forced to rely on their kicking game to get on the scoreboard, an area in which they have struggled all season. The field goal attempt sailed wide and Mabank took over ball control.
The Panthers made their first major mistake of the game at this point, fumbling the football on the first play and granting Eustace a fresh set of down to punch the ball into the end zone. The Bulldogs did not disappoint their home fans, securing fourth and third down conversions before quarterback Keenan Hargest ran the ball into the end zone on a 1-yard quarterback keeper to put Eustace up 6-0 with 1:39 remaining in the first half. The PAT was no good.
The Panthers fumbled the football into Eustace’s hands again after returning the kickoff to the Mabank 30-yard line. This time Mabank’s defense held and Hargest was intercepted in the end zone on a Hail Mary pass with just 39 seconds to play in the first half.
Mabank got on the scoreboard in the third quarter by capitalizing on turnovers. After a long run and first down, Hargest coughed up the ball to the Panthers on the Mabank 48-yard line. The Panthers’ Clay Carson converted a third-and-one into a first down before wide receiver Matt Cochrane ran a reverse for the Mabank touchdown. After Cochrane ran to the sideline, not a soul on the Bulldogs could catch him. The PAT was successful and Mabank led 7-6.
The Bulldogs got the ball back and Hargest made up for his previous fumble. After a first down, Hargest broke through the middle of the field and eluded multiple would-be tacklers all the way to pay dirt and a 74-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed and Eustace led 12-7.
The ensuing Mabank drive included two first downs to put the Panthers in position for a 43-yard field goal. The kick was good and Eustace led 12-10.
After the field goal, the Bulldogs chewed up a large portion of the fourth quarter clock with a touchdown drive that spanned from the 9:10 to 3:32 marks. Stone capped the five minute and forty-two second drive with a rushing touchdown that put the Bulldogs in the lead 18-10.
With an eight-point lead, the Bulldogs needed only one point to secure the victory. Even if Mabank scored a touchdown, the best they could do would tie the game 18-18 with a two-point conversion.
Despite its inconsistent kicking game, Eustace went for the easy extra point. The holder bobbled the ball on the snap and the football fell to the ground. With Panther defenders quickly approaching, the Bulldog’s holder was quick to react. He picked up the ball and darted to the sideline and away from Panther defenders for make-shift Plan B two-point conversion. After the wild run to secure the lead, Eustace led 20-10.
Mabank made the most of the remaining time on the clock by scoring a touchdown in the game’s final minutes and nailing the extra point to push the score to 20-17. It was an extremely close contest, and had the Panthers stopped the Eustace two-point conversion and secured its own two points after the final touchdown, they would have forced overtime. Mabank fans were not treated to the extra period and trills, while Eustace fans went home happy with the victory.
Eustace travels to Scurry-Rosser Sept. 18 on the road, while Mabank hosts a much-improved Kemp team for another rivalry game on its Homecoming.