By Cheri Thacker
The visiting Bartlett Panthers put up a quick six with an 80-yard touchdown in Dyer County on Friday night. The extra point attempt was no good. The Choctaws were unable to answer in the first quarter. The Panthers closed out the first quarter with a promising lead.
The Choctaws second quarter score started on their own 20-yard line in the first quarter. The Panthers defense was unable to stop the drive on a third and two. Choctaws #6 got the three-yard carry for a first and goal. Choctaws’ quarterback connected with receiver, Clifton Watts, to put up second quarter points. A successful extra point attempt brought the score to 7-6.
The panthers first second quarter drive drew a flag for illegal procedure leaving the offense with a ten yard deficit for a first and twenty. A quick connect to receiver #15 by quarterback Anderson Conner narrowed the yardage to a more manageable third and four. However, the Panthers offense was not able to break through the defense and was left in a punt situation. A delay of game penalty pushed the Panthers punter all the way back to the eight-yard line. The Choctaws started their drive on the forty-five.
The Panthers defense held the Choctaws offense at bay with a key stoppage on third and nine leaving Dyer County with a fourth and two situation.
With 3:08 left in the half, the Panthers offense takes over once again on their forty-eight yard line. Several carries by Hall set the offense up with a first and goal with fifteen seconds left in the game. Connor finds number 26 on a shuffle pass for another six points on the board. The Panthers were unable to convert for two extra points. With a few seconds remaining, the Panthers kicked off the ball. Fans held their breath as the return was brought all the way to the Panthers 11 yard line before number 15 knocked the player out of bounds. The first half ended with the Bartlett Panthers 12 and the Dyer County Choctaws 7.
The second half was plagued with penalties on both sides of the ball. Hard play saw several injury timeouts for the Panthers during the second half. The Choctaws scored early in the third pushing the score to 14-12. With 11:04 left in the game, the Panthers were once again in a punt situation. A high snap was recovered by Dyer County in the end zone adding two more points to the Choctaws lead and giving them the ball for another touchdown. The Panthers fell to a deficit of 11 points with a 23-12 score.
The Panthers weren’t going down without a fight. #2 returned the kickoff for an 80-yard touchdown with 8:38 left in the game. The 13-15 roll out to the left was good for the two-point conversion. The back and forth game now stood at a score of 23-20.
The Panthers defense would ultimately give up another touchdown and safety before the final buzzer sounded. The Bartlett Panthers were defeated with a final score of 32-20. The Panthers will visit the Bolton Wildcats on Friday September 28.