Panthers play ‘toe to toe’ with Generals

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By Chad Dixon

Despite a 27-13 loss on the road to the Robert E. Lee Generals (4-1, 3-1) last Saturday inside Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl, Smiths Station (3-2, 1-2) Head Coach Mike Glisson feels his team is ahead of schedule.

“Of course we would like to win every game, but from where we were I think we are in a good spot. I told the team that they have a chance to make the playoffs. We just need to win two of our next three area games.”

Running Back Clarerius Pickett presented several challenges for the Panthers’ defense on Saturday. He gained 168 yards and scored two touchdowns in the first half alone. He scored the first one 2:12 into the game with a 63-yard punt return.

The Panthers would limit the high-powered Generals’ offense to just seven points in the first quarter.

“They have some quality players, but I think we did a good job of going toe to toe with them in one of the hottest football games that I have ever been apart of,” Glisson added.

Lee drove to the Panthers’ five-yard line early in the second quarter, but the drive was negated by an interception by junior corner back Q.B. Ashford in the end zone. The Generals would then force a three-and-out to regain possession.

Generals’ quarterback Tyrone Franklin, Jr. completed a 32-yard pass to Pickett with 4:35 remaining in the half to extend the lead to 13-0.

Smiths Station quarterback Corey Minton stood tall on the next drive. He was 3-for-5 with 35 passing yards and scored on a 22-yard rushing touchdown with 80 seconds remaining in the half to cut the lead to 13-7 heading into the third quarter.

“Corey was spectacular. I think we saw some things we had been holding back on that could really benefit us in the future,” Glisson said.

The Generals extended their lead to 20-7 four minutes into the third quarter, but Minton was determined to keep his team in the game.

He had a 37-yard rush during the next possession. After a two-yard rush by L.C. Harris, Minton completed back to back passes to Payton Wiggins and Carter Duke. Minton reached the end zone from the three-yard line on the next play to cut the Generals lead 27-13 after the PAT.

Minton finished the game with 83 passing yards (11/13) and rushed for 99 yards with two touchdowns. Harris had 63 rushing yards on 16 attempts. Defensively, D.J. Moffett and Kyran Hall had eight tackles each for Smiths Station.

The Panthers will now turn their attention to their homecoming game against Stanhope Elmore tomorrow evening at 8 p.m. ET.