This past Friday the West Gadsden Panthers traveled to Sneads to take on the Pirates for their homecoming game. Minutes before the start of the contest, both the inside of the stadium and the long line outside of the stadium were filled with excited fans of both teams eager to see this rivalry game.
The Pirates scored first, giving their fans something to cheer about as their sophomore running back Antwan Durn scored on a short run up the middle with 6:52 left in the first quarter. The Panthers began to respond very quickly to the Pirates opening drive.
Marquis Brown caught a slant on the third play of the Panther’s offensive series cut up field and advanced to the Pirate’s 29 yard line before being tackled. With 4:58 left in the opening quarter, Antonio Murphy capped off West Gadsden’s drive as he took a toss to the left side of the field and ran into the end zone, and after a successful extra point attempt by Israel Grande the game was tied by a score of 7-7.
West Gadsden’s defense caused Sneads to go three and out on their next offensive drive, and after a bad punt by the Pirate’s punter, the Panther’s offensive came back onto the field with the ball on Snead’s 40-yard line.
Miguel Davis set the tone for the Panther’s offense by breaking off a 34-yard run on the first play of the drive and with 1:16 left in the quarter, Qwuantrezz Knight threw a fade on the left side of the end zone to Brown, who went up and attacked the ball at its highest point to put his team ahead and after another successful attempt by Grande, the West Gadsden took the lead by a score o f14-7.
With 11:00 left in the first half, senior cornerback Deonte Jackson intercepted an underthrown pass by the Pirates quarterback; after causing the turnover, Jackson lined up at wide receiver and on the first play of the Panther’s drive he went up and came down with a pass that Knight threw to him in traffic, which put his team just inside Snead’s 30-yard line. The Panther offense capitalized on the turnover as their running back scored on a short power running as 7:55 remained in the half.
Just as their homecoming game seemed to be slipping away from them, the Pirates pulled to within seven points after their running back bounced a run to the right side of the field and ran down the sideline for a score from about 10 yards out, and as the first half ended and royal court prepared to take the field, the Panther’s found themselves in the lead of a close game by a score of 21-14.
The Pirates came out swinging in the second half and tied the game up at 21-21 after Durn took a handoff and broke on a nice run and raced into the end zone. The game remained tied until Knight found Brown on a fade route for a score with 4:30 left in the third that put the Panthers ahead by a score of 28-21.
The Pirates continued to fight but were unable to regain the lead and with 6:21 left in the game, Grande put the final points of the game on the board after he nailed a short field goal to put the Panthers a head by a score of 31-21. After an unsuccessful field goal attempt by Sneads from about 40 yards away with 1:48 left in the game, West Gadsden’s offense took over on downs and was able to run out the clock to seal their victory on the road.