By Bill Mynatt,
Radio Voice of Powell Panther Football on AM 620 WRJZ
In a continuation of its regular season finale on October 18, the Powell Panther defense stopped the Central offense pretty much cold on Friday night at Scarbro Stadium. Holding the Bobcats to just 86 yards of total offense in the game, the result was a 33-7 Powell domination, moving the Panthers in to the second round this Friday night at home against Knoxville West. That game will be a rematch of last year’s semifinal game when the Panthers defeated the Rebels 29-6 to advance to the finals.
In a twist of fate, Powell’s first year head coach is the same guy who was the Rebel defensive coordinator in that game.
“I’m very much grateful for (West head coach) Scott Cummings giving me that opportunity. I learned a lot from him and enjoyed my time at West,” Rang told me. “However, I am a competitor and I am all Powell Panther now. I am looking forward to the opportunity to coach my team against West this week. They are a great football team, and it should be a really fun matchup.”
It didn’t take long on Friday night to figure out that Rang and his Panthers would get the opportunity to move on.
After winning the toss and deferring to the second half, Powell kicked off to the Bobcats. Central managed one first down before the Panther defense forced the first of sevenCentral punts in the game. Powell’s offense took over at its own 31 yard line and took just four plays and 1:47 of game clock to take the lead. The score came on a 31 yard Hagen Owenby to Marcus Weaver pass, and after Austin Rogers’ point after kick, Powell took the lead 7-0, a lead that they would never relinquish.
Powell scored again just 3 minutes later, this time on a 1-yard run by Owenby, and then once more on another 1-ard Owenby run late in the second quarter. Rogers hit one of the 2 extra point tries, and Powell had matched the 20-0 halftime lead it had on Central in the October 18 game.
Unlike that regular season game that ended with a 20-0 score, however, the Panther offense had more left in the tank this time.
Powell took the second half opening kickoff and started an 8 play – 87 yard drive to the end zone. Owenby again found the end zone, this time on a nifty 26 yard run behind the blocking of his offensive line – Anthony Rivera, Jacob Anderson, Harrison Jones, Colin Sharp, and Robert Hamilton. Owenby was certainly appreciative of their work.
“The line, they did a great job of blocking for us all night long,” Owenby said. “They’ve done that all year.”
Rogers’ kick stretched the Panther lead to 27-7 with 8:07 to go in the 3rd.
Central got on the board with its only points of the game late in the period.
Freshman running back Jeremiah Howard, subbing for an injured JaJuan Stinson, scooted in from two yards out to cap a seven play, 62-yard drive. Cory Plont added the point after, and Central now trailed 27-7.
The final points of the game came at the 7:24 mark when Owenby found Klay Leeper wide open on a wheel route in the left side of the end zone. The 15 yard throw and catch, along with the extra point by Rogers, stretch the lead to the eventual winning margin of 33-7.
On a night when defense was the name of the game for the Panthers, it was fitting that senior defensive end/nose tackle Shar’ron Moore would put his name in the record books.
With his sack of Bobcat quarterback Xavier Johnson in the second quarter, Moore became the all time school sack leader with the 18th of his career. Moore had been tied with Will Barnes, now a senior lineman at the University of the Cumberlands (KY).
“That’s just a great accomplishment for Shar’ron,” Rang said. “He’s such a high motor guy and has been an outstanding player for us all year long.”
Moore totaled six tackles for the Panthers, three of them for loss. His biggest hit came on the kickoff cover team with a jarring tackle that sent a huge reaction through the Panther sideline and home stands.
Moore’s senior running mate, linebacker Devin Scott, continued his stellar play by leading his team in tackles with 11. Jon Strozyk and Josh Singleton each had 5.
Owenby had a hand in each of Powell’s five touchdowns, running for threeand passing for two others. His 159 rushing yards on 18 carries put Owenby at an even 1,000 for the season.
Senior Montario Washington added 90 yards on the ground on his 16 tries, and also passed the 1,000 yard rushing mark for the year. He now has totaled 1,005 in 2012.
Tyshawn Gardin pitched in 59 yards on 11 rushing attempts.
Owenby completed five of his nine pass attempts, good for 101 yards. Weaver caught 2 of those, good for 45 yards.
Howard showed a lot of promise running the football for Central, leading his team with 68 yards on 17 carries. Once Stinson returns from the foot injury next year, he and Howard look to be a terrific 1-2 punch for Coach Joe Hassell’s team.
Powell totaled 441 yards of offense in the game, and managed 26 first downs on just 60 offensive plays.
Neither team turned the football over.
The Bobcats close out its season at 6-5, having made the playoffs for the first time since 2006. They return 6 offensive players who started the game on Friday, plus Stinson. Look for Central to continue its improvement in 2013.
The Panthers, ranked #3 by the Associated Press in the most recent Class 5A state wide poll, will meet West, ranked #4 by the AP, in a game that most thought might come deeper in the playoffs. However, a serious misstep in the placing and seeding of playoff teams has forced that game to be played in round 2 instead of the quarterfinals or semifinals.
With Sullivan South originally being omitted in favor of Cleveland, then inserted in to the brackets in place of Cleveland, but placed in quad two instead of the TSSAA reworking quads 1 and 2 to reflect how they should have been worked in the first place, every team in both quads saw their potential opponents and seeding affected. That means that the Panthers and Rebels will meet earlier than most thought they would.
Rang has been very vocal about the situation.
“It’s just a shame that Powell and West will meet in the second round instead of deeper in to the playoffs like they should have. Chances are that eventually we would have had to play each other, but for this to be a second round game instead of later in the playoffs when it should have been played is just wrong. They (TSSAA) should have fixed it correctly and given everybody an opportunity to be where they should have been. While we would have had to play West eventually, it should have been done right when the mistake was discovered, as was pointed out to them (TSSAA).”
Kickoff at Scarbro Stadium on Friday is scheduled for 7 p.m. If you can’t make it in person, you can hear the broadcast beginning at 6:30 p.m. on AM 620 WRJZ and streaming over the internet at www.powellpanthersfootball.com .