A light drizzle of rain fell this past Friday as loyal fans of the West Gadsden Panthers began to walk through the gate and fill the stands to watch the Panthers play their homecoming game against the Franklin County Seahawks. The Seahawks received the opening kick, and their offense came out after the return and turned the ball over by fumbling near the line of scrimmage on the first play of their series.
With 11:41 to play in the opening quarter, the Panther offense capitalized on the Seahawks turnover as Qwuantrezz Knight dropped back on the Panther’s first play and delivered a nice ball to Marquis Brown on the right sideline for a score of about 20 yards, and after a successful extra point attempt by Israel Grande, West Gadsden jumped out to an early 7-0 lead over Franklin County.
The Panther defense came out and smothered the Seahawk’s offense on their next series and pinned them deep in their own territory, and after a bad punt the Panther offense took the field and began their second drive on Franklin County’s 25-yard line. Two plays later with 8:28 to go in the first quarter, Knight scored on a quarterback keeper from 25 yards out, and after another successful kick by Grande, the Panthers had extended their lead by a score of 14-0.
The Seahawks were unable to reach midfield in the first quarter, and after Miguel Davis and Antonio Murphy add two more rushing touchdowns, the Panthers went into the second quarter with a comfortable 27-0 lead over the Seahawks.
With 11:50 to play in the half, Franklin County was able to pass midfield for the first time in the game because of a penalty committed by the West Gadsden defense. After their mistake, the Panther defense got back on track and stopped the Seahawks a few plays later near the 40-yard line.
With 6:42 to play in the second quarter, the Panther defense put some points on the board when Joshua Lowry tackled a Seahawk ball carrier in the end zone for a safety, pushing the Panther lead to 29-0.
Brown received the kick after the safety and picked his way through traffic on the left side of the field, cut back and cruised down the right sideline for a score of about 50 yards, but the score was negated because of a penalty. With 5:40 remaining in the half, Brown received another opportunity to score after Knight floated a pass to him along the right sideline; Brown then made the catch and jogged into the endzone after dogging a defender. Before the half, both Murphy and Davis were able to score again, putting the Panthers ahead of the Seahawks by a score of 50-0.
During the halftime ceremonies, the crowd gave their attention and applause to the royal court that included senior lineman Ronald Pinkney who was crowned Mr. West Gadsden and starting quarterback Qwauntrezz Knight, who was named Mr. Sophomore. All of the senior football players were also recognized during halftime.
Sitting through the sporadic rainfall of the first half didn’t seem to bother the Panther fans as they watched their team reach the half-century mark in the first half, but unfortunately no points were scored by either team in the second half as both teams allowed the clock to continuously run. The Panther staff pulled most of their starters towards the end of the third quarter, and the team began to celebrate and enjoy the moment on the sidelines during the fourth quarter. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, the West Gadsden Panther players and fans were unable to contain their excitement after defeating the Franklin County Seahawks by a score of 50-0.
Pinkney was all smiles when asked about his feelings about the game.
“I feel good,” he said. “This is a big win for us.”
Star wide receiver Brown expressed himself in a few words as well: “We played good tonight.”
Let’s keep cheering the Panthers on as they continue to work hard and push toward the post season.