FRIDAY NIGHT RECAP: Panthers air it out to crush ACAPublished 7:00pm Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Elmore County High charged to a 41-10 season-opening win versus Alabama Christian Friday night.
The Panthers’ two-man quarterback platoon of Senior Austin Adams and junior Michael Walls lit it up, completing 20 of 25 passing attempts combined for 279 yards. Senior receiver Javon Moore posted a career game, catching nine passes for 154 yards.
“I’m glad to have him on my side of the ball,” Walls said of the senior receiver. “I know if I get in trouble I can throw to the big guy right there.”
Dean praised his squad for powering through sub-tropical conditions that had multiple players cramping up through the evening.
“I told the guys that we weren’t going to have any ‘I wishes,’ that we were going to go out and play as hard as we can play for four quarters,” Dean said. “They were hurting, they were dragging but — for lack of a better term — they sucked it up and kept playing hard.”
In the first quarter, sophomore running back Travis Rawls got the scoring started with a 6-yard touchdown. The Panthers added another seven just seconds into the second quarter when Adams capped a 10-play, 90-yard drive with a one-yard dive. Freshman place kicker Joshua Stockman — the third Stockman brother to kick for ECHS — converted five of six extra point attempts on the night. ACA’s Kippy Tate would get the Eagles on the board with a 34-yard field goal and the Panthers took a 14-3 lead into the locker room.
After two big pass plays by Walls — to Moore for 25 yards and to Zach Smith for 39 yards — the Panthers found themselves at the 11 yard line. Walls completed a pass to Moore, but the ball was slapped away as Moore stretched his 6-foot-4 frame for the end zone. Kell Floyd would dive on the loose ball for the touchdown.
After a few back and forth series, Panther senior Sergio Birmingham picked off a pass from ACA quarterback Chandler Taylor and took it around 60 yards for the touchdown.
On the following Eagles possession, Taylor drove ACA deep into Panther territory, but with the Eagles inside the 10, Adams spoiled the opposing QB’s drive with an interception in the end zone just as the third quarter drew to a close.
On the Panthers first drive of the fourth quarter, Walls hooked up with senior Jaleen Mitchell for a 26-yard touchdown to put ECHS up 35-3. ACA’s Taylor finally got the Eagles into the end zone halfway through the fourth, but the ensuing 50-yard kickoff return by Floyd gave the Panthers a short field. Rawls ran six yards for his second touchdown of his 15-carry, 85-yard night.
It was Rawls’ first game as a starting tailback.
Dean put in his younger players with around three minutes left to play. But the fireworks were not over, as freshman running back Tracy Strouse found a rush around right end covered, reversed field and sprinted 77 yards into the red zone. Dean called the “victory formation” and let time expire.