By Cheri Thacker
Craigmont’s rushing game was too much for the youthful Bartlett Panthers to overcome as they fell 51-20 Friday night. Bartlett finished out the season with an overall record of 1-9 while the play-off bound Chiefs bumped their regular season record to 8-2.
The night’s game honored senior players Connor Anderson, Sam Brewer, Cornelius Cunningham, Jake Forsythe, Trey Gannison, Josh Hall, Josh Hodges, Lonterrious Lewis, Darrien Sanford, Robert Wingo, and Nigel Yancy.
The Chiefs Walter Crutchfield and Demicio Ewing, both running threats, were back to receive the Panthers kick off. A second effort surge by Crutchfield set the ball up from Craigmont’s own 34-yard line for opening play. Early in the drive, Panthers Davonte Boyland put a halt to Crutchfield’s attempt to turn the corner on the left side, but the Panther defense wouldn’t be able to hold him back long-term. After marching down the field, the Chief’s quarterback, Andrew McIntyre completed to Ewing for a touchdown with 9:11 left in the first quarter putting the Panthers behind 7-0.
On the Panthers first drive, Josh Hall pushed the ball down the field on several plays to the 48-yard line but was jammed on a third and nine for no gain. Panther John Nesbit’s punt attempt was tipped for a favorable outcome for the Chiefs at the Bartlett 47-yard line. On third and five at the 42-yard line with 4:38 to play in the first, McIntyre went to the air where Panther’s Boyland snagged the ball for an interception taking off down the left side to the Chief’s 29-yard line.
Craigmont’s defense held tough, putting the Panthers in a fourth and one position at the 22-yard line. The Nick Bramlett sneak was good for the first down. With under a minute and third and goal for the Panthers from the 1-yard line, Josh Hall spun his way into the end zone to capitalize on the Boyland interception. The score was tied up 7-7 with 36 seconds to play in the first quarter.
A 69-yard run by Ewing on Craigmont’s next drive would set them up with a first and goal from the seven-yard line. Early in the second quarter, Crutchfield would carry it into the end zone to jump back on top 14-7.
The Panthers in need of a third and 10 conversion went to the air with a dump pass intended for Johnson. It was intercepted by Craigmont’s Ewing who took it into the end zone from just shy of mid-field. A block in the back brought the ball back out to the 30-yard line. Crutchfield scooted into the end zone once again for six points with 10:09 remaining in the first half. A missed extra point left the score standing at 20-7, Craigmont.
The next Panther drive resulted in a loose ball recovered by Craigmont to set them up for another score by Crutchfield with a 55-yard jaunt. A tipped point after attempt set the score at 26-7 with 7:34 left in the second.
Panthers Robert Wingo took the kickoff all the way to the 3-yard line for a first and goal. The Panthers couldn’t punch the ball in and Nesbit came in for the field goal attempt. Craigmont blocked the attempt from the 11-yard line. The next play, Ewing carried the ball 84 yards into the end zone to move the score to 32-7. First half play closed with a score of 38-7 after the Chief’s capitalized on a Bramlett interception.
Second half play added another 13 points for the Panther’s but they were never able to close the gap.