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Late mistakes not costly as Panthers stop Milan

Late mistakes not costly as Panthers stop Milan

Posted: Friday, August 24, 2012 12:00 pm

Mistakes by Martin Middle School nearly gave away its season-opening game away to Milan in the closing moments, but the Panthers held on to win 22-16.
Five fumbles by the Panthers in the fourth period, two recovered by the Bulldogs, nearly cost the Panthers a big win to open the 2012 season Tuesday night.
Three of the five fumbles were bad exchanges from the center to Martin quarterback McKinney Backer. One of the fumbles Milan recovered led to a touchdown with 4:12 left in the game.
Baker had trouble handling the snap on Martin’s first play of its next possession but was able to fall on the dropped ball. However, on the very next play, running back D. J. Coffman coughed up the ball and Milan recovered it on Martin’s 44-yard-line.
After two incomplete passes, Milan then elected to run and picked up five yards. With time running out, the Bulldogs went for a deep pass that was intercepted by cornerback Heath Hester, ensuring the win.
The Panthers scored all of their points in the first half, the first TD coming on Baker-to-Tavin Holland 31-yard pass. The Panthers went for a two-point conversion, but Baker’s pass was incomplete.
Milan had problems of its own in the opening quarter with bad snaps, and the Panthers recovered one at their 15. Hester lost the ball on the first play of the drive, and the Bulldogs took advantage of the miscue on the next play from three yards out. Milan made the two-point conversion to take an 8-6 lead.
That lead did not hold up for long. Hester made up for his fumble by racing down the left sideline on the ensuing kickoff for a 75-yard touchdown. Coffman ran the ball in for the two-point conversion to make it 14-8 game with 1:05 left in the first quarter.
Martin forced the Bulldogs into a punting situation, but the Bulldogs went for the fake punt, but that did not fool the Panthers and Martin took over on in the Milan 25 yard line. Coffman took the handoff on the Panthers first play and ran it in for a 25-yard score.
Baker connected with Cameron Jones for the two-point conversion to make a 22-8 game with 7:02 left in the half.
The Panthers did not have much offense with only 146 total yards, but their big plays did the damage.
Milan controlled most of the clock but could only manage 145 yards.
The Panthers will be at home on Aug. 28 to take on Union City.
Game time is set for 6:30. Published in The WCP 8.23.12

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