BRUCE BRANUM/THE GREENVILLE STANDARD
Last Friday night the 2016 Georgiana Panthers football season came to a close as they were knocked out at the 3rd round of the AHSSA playoffs by the Linden Patriots, 52-12.
There would be no comeback in this game.
The Georgiana High School Panthers did have an amazing 2016 run with 12 wins in row and several gut testing games till they ran into the Patriots.
From the coin toss, things never quite went the Panthers way, Georgiana lost the flip and Linden deferred until the second half.
With less than a minute off the clock after receiving the kickoff, the Panthers threw an interception at their own 27-yard line and the Patriots then quickly drove it in for their first of eight touchdowns on the night. Yet undaunted, the Panthers gathered themselves and gave a strong defensive effort for the rest of the first quarter, but they just couldn’t get their offense rolling. Time after time a Patriot made his way into the Panther backfield and made a tackle for a loss.
Shortly within the second quarter, Linden scored again and from there Georgiana had to fight just to keep alive. The Patriots added two more scores before the Panthers made one of their signature scoring drives with less than three minutes on the clock to close the first half with Linden leading 26-0.
Hope seemed revived after the Panthers recovered an onside kick to start the second half but that was short lived. The Patriots intercepted another pass and they were off to the races. Dequan Charleston for Linden scored four of their touchdowns. If he broke into open field, the goal line was calling.
By the end of the third quarter Linden had scored seven times. Georgiana did manage to score once in third quarter on a 56-yard scamper by Christian Williams. The Patriots would add one more touchdown early in the fourth quarter to seal the Panthers loss.
Linden had 338 total yards of offense to Georgiana’s 271.
After the game, both teams and met on the field with Coach Williams giving inspiration to Georgiana for their hard fought play and sportsmanship.
Just after that, the Panthers met for the last time of 2016 as a team on the field and Coach Powell had these words, “This was a great effort. I enjoyed the ride. For me it’s bittersweet. I’m happy for all you seniors but hate our season is over. I don’t plan on going down. We gotta work harder. We were close this year. To you young players, just keep fighting, keep believing in what we’ve built.”