|Inman deals MMS season-ending loss |
By Rob Beam
Score — Martin Middle School’s Collins Alexander, here racing around the end and away from Trenton’s Juan Anderson, scored the Panthers’ lone touchdown in a 12-6 season-ending loss to Inman Thursday night.
Special to The Press
Martin Middle School’s Panthers hosted the Paris-Inman Bulldogs Thursday night with the winner of the game advancing to the playoffs while the loser stayed home. With both teams coming into the game undefeated stakes were high. A hard-fought game found Martin edged out by the visiting Bulldogs, 12-6, ending the season for the Panthers.
“This was a tough loss for us as a team, but we played a good game and I’m really proud of the season that we have had. A 7-1 record is nothing to hang your head about and we played some really tough opponents this season,” MMS head coach Mike Stigall said.
The first period was controlled by Inman as the Bulldogs took the ball down the field on a long drive, starting from their own 22-yard line on the long march. Using 12 plays to cover from one 20 to the other, Inman got to the Panther 18-yard line. Inman faced a 4th-and-eight from the 13-yard line. A delay of game penalty backed it up another five making it a 4th-and-13 from the 18-yard line. The Panther defense knocked the ball away from an intended receiver and took over on downs with 45 seconds remaining in the opening period. This would start the Panthers’ first possession at the end of the period.
Collins Alexander and Abraham Haddad had runs of 16 and 14 yards, respectively, setting up the big one for the Panthers. Alexander got the handoff and headed up the middle again before darting out of the pack. Alexander then took off down the field for a 37-yard touchdown run, putting the host Panthers up early in the second period, 6-0, after a missed two-point try.
The Bulldogs got the ball back with 6:39 to go in the half and started another one of their long drives that would end a little differently this time. The visitors marched down the field on a 12-play drive that ended with a score with only 44 seconds remaining in the half. The two teams were tied at the half, 6-6.
Martin got the ball first in the second half and put together a very good drive. Quinton Walker ripped off a 17-yard run early in the drive. Facing a 4th-and-six, the Panthers went to Haddad once again. Spinning off a would-be tackler five yards down the field, Haddad ended up gaining a first down with a 13-yard run. The Panthers advanced down to the 18-yard line. Then at the same end of the field that Inman had its drive stall on the 18, so did the Panthers. A fumbled exchange between the QB and running back was recovered at the 25-yard line by the Bulldogs.
The Panther “D” stepped to the challenge and forced a punt after three plays. MMS got the ball back but was not able to get the offense rolling again and had to punt back to Inman with five minutes left in the game.
Inman then let its quarterback take the snap on a planned rollout sweep and the Bulldog signal-caller got through the first line of defense of the Panthers and scampered down the sidelines for a 75-yard touchdown run. The score put the visitors up 12-6 with 4:20 left to play.
Martin had one more chance, driving to midfield where it faced a 4th-and-eight. Colton Nanney tried to pass for the first down but an incompletion gave the ball back to Inman.
The Bulldogs were then able to run out the clock and preserve a 12-6 victory.
“This was a hard-fought game by both teams. We did some good and bad things in this game as well as they did. But we played hard and it was a good game. It’s a shame that only one team can advance from our region, but once again these guys have had an excellent season and when the sting of this loss wears off they will see that, too,” Stigall added.
MMS ended the season 7-1 while Inman improved to 8-0.
Weakley County Press Oct. 16, 2007