Panthers Win Second Consecutive Tri-County Bowl
By David Grindstaff
The East Yancey Panthers took on a very strong Harris Middle School football team last Tuesday at Macdonald Stadium at Avery High.
After suffering their only loss of the regular season to the Panthers, the Blue Devils came into the Tri-County Bowl looking to even the score but early on it was obvious that it wasn’t going to happen on this night in Newland.
The Panthers (7-0 Toe River Conference) finished off their second straight unbeaten season in league play with an impressive 52-6 win over the Blue Devils.
This one was runaway game from the start as the Panther defense rolled up its sleeves and the offense put it out of reach early.
In what was a big night by quarterback Trey Robinson on both sides of the football as the 8th grader was all over the field making plays.
The first came in the form of a 45 yard touchdown pass to Mike McCoy and two point conversion run that put the Panthers in front 8-0 some three and a half minutes into the game.
East Yancey, which now has won 14 straight games dating back to the 2012 season, owned a 16-0 lead after the first quarter of play with Trey Robinson scoring on a 41 yard touchdown run and Derrick Thomas adding the two point conversion run for the Panthers.
Towards the end of the first quarter the Panthers again were moving the ball and they finished off the drive early in the second when Trey Robinson found Mike McCoy open near the goal line. McCoy banged his way in from 4 yards out to increase the EY lead to 22-0. The conversion run by Dathan Robinson was good and the Panthers went in front 24-0 at the 7:22 mark of the second quarter.
That score was short lived as it took the Panthers less than five minutes to add to their lead. The Panthers offense continued to spark and East would go on to score two more times in the second. First was a 67 yard bomb from Trey Robinson to Dawson Branton and two point keeper by Robinson at the 2:38 mark, then it was a 35 yard pick six by Douglas Geouge with 1:03 to go before the half. At the break the Panthers led 38-0.
The Panthers were able to tack on another score early in the third quarter when backup QB Dawson Branton hooked up with Logan Woody on a TD pass play that covered 52 yards and along with the two point run by Alston Randolph the Panthers made it 46-0 at the end of the third.
The final Panther score came with 4:01 left to play when Dathan Robinson took it in again, this time breaking loose from 48 yards out to make it the 52-0.
The Panthers gave up a score in the final quarter when Harris QB Ben Young escaped for a 68 yard touchdown run to make the final 52-6. The Blue Devils made a couple of trips into the East Yancey zone during the game but just could not sustain but one scoring drive.
Panther Coach Wade Shehan said that this group guys were phenomenal to work with and he considers the team as one of the best to ever play on an East Yancey Middle School football field. “This bunch of players was truly one of the most talented groups we have had here at East Yancey and we expect big things from them as they advance through the high school ranks,” Coach Shehan said of his back to back TRC champions.
With all of the 8th grade talent moving on to Mountain Heritage, the cupboard is not bare at East Yancey where Coach Shehan expects over twenty of the 7th graders on the team to be back for their 8th grade campaigns, Blend those players with some good talent coming up from the Yancey County 6th grade teams, and you can look for the Panthers to make another run at the title come August 2014.