Cougars Can’t Stop 4thy Quarter Panther Rally
By David Grindstaff
By David Grindstaff
email@example.comFootball fans were treated to an old fashioned Cat fight Friday night when the Patton High Panthers made the trip up the mountains from Morganton to face off against the Heritage Cougars in the season opener at E.L. Briggs Stadium.
In a see-saw battle throughout, in the 4th quarter the Panthers out scored Heritage 20-0 to escape with the non-conference victory.
The visiting Panthers pulled to within a point of the Cougars at 28-27 on a 26 yard pass from QB Chance Carswell to Sampson Cuthbertson early in the 4th quarter.
And after Daulton Buchanan gave the Cougars great field position when he returned the ensuing Panther kick past midfield, the offensive show would continue. Joey Brown got the Cougar scoring march underway with and 11 yard run on first down and six plays later Dalton Robinson punched it into the end zone from four yards out giving Heritage a seven point cushion, forcing Patton to rally from a 34-27 deficit with just over eight minutes left to play in the game.
The Cougar defense stepped it up and contained the quick Panther backs and it looked like Heritage would hang on for a season opening victory after a fumble recovery by Jake McClellan gave the home team possession of the football in enemy territory with just over 4 minutes remaining.
But after moving inside the Panther twenty yard line the Cougars coughed up the football giving Patton a glimmer of hope with 2:25 to play and 85 yards of real estate to cover to reach the end zone.
With 1:09 remaining and facing third down and 23, deep in their own territory, the Panthers went to the air and Carswell delivered a 55-yard strike to Marcus Whitener, who scampered down the sideline for a big first down. Two players later, Colley caught a Carswell pass in the left flat and raced seven yards for the score to make it 34-33 Patton with 55 seconds remaining. Then a two-point conversion run by Tyriq Ervin gave the Panthers the lead 35-34.
With the remaining :54 seconds, Mountain Heritage managed to drive all the way to the Panthers 28 before Colley picked off Trevor Robinson and returned it 98 yards to put the final nail in the Cougar coffin 41-34.
Trevor Robinson finished with 143 passing yards and two touchdowns on 11 completions while also rushing for 77 yards and two scores for Mountain Heritage which also got good rushing performances from Dalton Robinson (18-carries for 101-yards) and Joey Brown (10-66).15-yard penalty to place the ball at the Cougar 15-yard line.
It was a back and forth barn burner from the opening whistle a s the Cougars took their opening possession of the 2013 season and marched down the field to grab the lead.
Mixing the run and the pass Heritage strung together a dozen plays to reach the end zone on an 18 yard keeper by Trevor Robinson. Robinson, who ran the Cougar hurry up offense to perfection on the opening drive, spotted sophomore receiver Job Kennedy for the two point conversion and Heritage held the early lead 8-0.
Patton, which enjoyed a big advantage in the kicking game and as a result also enjoyed great starting field position throughout, began its opening drive of the night near midfield. But just two plays into the possessions the Patton fateful saw Cougar defensive back Avery Austin rip the football away from a Panther receiver to give Heritage possession and stop any threat of a Panther score.
The Panthers took advantage of a poor Cougar punt which set up a short field from the MHHS 32 yard line. Patton scored on the next play following the punt to pull within a point at 8-7 following a successful PAT.
The scoring parade continued as the Panthers grabbed a 14-8 lead on their next possession following a 59 yard scamper by the speedy Cuthbertson.
The Cougars responded with a 13 play 65 yard hurry up drive to knot the score at 14-14 at the half. Heritage scored when Trevor Robinson zipped a short pass to Dalton Robinson who sprinted 8 yards up the middle of the field for the touchdown.
Heritage had four different receivers make catches in the opener. Jake McClellan led the way with five receptions for 70 yards, followed by Dalton Cannon ( 3-50), Dalton Robinson (2-21) and Daulton Buchanan (1-2).
Carswell finished with 227 passing yards and three touchdowns on 15 completions, while Sampson Cuthbertson had 154 rushing yards, 29 receiving yards and two touchdowns..
Heritage will host a hot Erwin team this week that ran by East Rutherford 47-28 in their debut. Kickoff is at 7:30 Friday night.