Lumberton defense shuts out McAdams as the Panthers advance to second round

By JESSE JOHNSON,

Lumberton advances to the second round of the playoffs with a 26-0 win over McAdams Friday night. In a game of offensive struggles for both teams and 21 total penalties amongst the two, it was the Panthers’ defense that showed a strong performance, resulting in a win for the Panthers.

In the first quarter of play both teams struggled to get things moving on the offensive end. Both squads exchanged the ball back and forth for the majority of the first half ending the first quarter scoreless.

On the last play of the first half, Lumberton found themselves third and 28 before Robert Henry connected with K‘nalon Willis on a 66-yard touchdown with time running out. Lumberton took the lead and momentum into intermission.

Before that play, Lumberton only had 43 yards of total offense to Mcadams’ 13 yards. Both schools played undisciplined ball as they each had seven penalties.

With 2:16 remaining in the third quarter, Robert Henry dodged a couple of defenders before bulldozing his way into the end zone on a 17-yard run, giving the Panthers a 14-0 lead.

After a strong defensive stop by the Panthers, Lumberton put together a seven-play drive, capping it off with a one-yard touchdown run by Shavonte Toney. The PAT was no good, but the Panthers lead 20-0 with 8:51 remaining in the ball game.

Lumberton then held McAdams to five plays before the Bulldogs punted the ball to kickoff specialist Jason Buckley, who returned the ball  41 yards into the end zone. The score proved to be enough, as Lumberton finished the game 26-0 and advancing to the second round of the playoffs.

After the game Coach Zach Jones acknowledged that the game was not as pretty as he would have liked, but he was happy his guys came out with the win.

“(I) give a lot of credit to McAdams,” Jones said. “They came out to play and really challenged us the first half. It was not a pretty game for us. They definitely made us work for this win, so hats off to those guys.”

Jones also addressed the things his team must do to continue this run in the playoffs.

“Penalties killed us for the majority of the game,” Jones said. “That is on me. We must do a better job at these things moving forward. We have to play four quarters because a bad quarter can result in a loss. There are no bad teams at this point moving forward.”

As the defense stood its ground for the better part of the game, Jones was very proud of the way they played and set the tone for the game. A big part of the Panthers’ success was the leadership shown by senior Xavier Holder. Hampered by injuries that sat the defensive end out for two seasons, the senior’s play Friday night gave the defense the much-needed intensity to pull out the victory.

“Xavier has done a really good job out there, “ Jones said. “We are glad he is back healthy and I am proud of the way he played tonight. We feed off of him and he gets us going. He really showed the toughness we needed tonight and I couldn’t be more proud of him and our guys tonight.”

Lumberton will host again next week as the Panthers welcome Leflore County, who knocked off Sebastopol this week.