The excitement of a new adventure makes everyone a little nervous. The young men that compose the 9th grade football team didn’t seem to show that as they stepped on to the turf at Jack Murphy Stadium in Gladewater Thursday afternoon. The Panthers pounced on the Bears from the onset.
Due to low numbers for Gladewater, the contest was arranged with more of a scrimmage format. The Panthers were oblivious to that as they started on the defensive side of the ball for the first ten plays. The Bears managed to move the ball a total of 35 yards in those ten plays. Once Spring Hill took possession, yardage came at a premium. QB Grayson Crews carried the ball on the first offensive snap for 31 yards down the Panther sideline, finishing the run with an authoritative shoulder smash into the Bear defender, knocking the defender to the ground. On the second Spring Hill offensive play, Jordan Jones ran around the right side for a 39 yard score. Two plays later, Jones again ran around the right side of the formation, this time for a 70 yard scoring jaunt. The very next play, Crews went to the air and found a streaking Brennan Ferguson for a 70 yard TD pass and catch.
The Bears managed to improve their offensive production the next time that they had the ball, starting off with a long run. But the defense for Spring Hill tightened up and shut down any hopes of scoring by Gladewater, led by Brody Turner, Dylan Murdick, and Crews. The Panthers forced a Gladewater fumble on their final snap of the session to top of their stand. Spring Hill then took possession of the ball again, and quickly moved it with Favour Otujor running for a first down. Ferguson completed a pass to James Henry Thomas for another Panther first down a few plays later. Ferguson garnered another first with a QB scramble around the left side. Crews continued the advance with a run of 31 yards from the Bear 42 to the 11 yard line. Otujor then scored on the next play for a 11 yard run off the right edge. Christian Gonzales ate up another first down with a long run, followed by Hugo Garza with his own run of 11 yards.
The Panthers sealed the fate of the Bears by holding the final Gladewater offensive possession from any real success. Crews had a 70 yard scoring run nullified by a penalty to start the final Spring Hill possession. However, he did have a run of 27 yards a few plays later.
The Panthers will take on Tatum next Thursday, September 6, at Panther Stadium. Start time is set for 5:00.