After scoring just seven points in its season opener, the Lakeside Panthers hoped to get the offense on track Friday night.
The team accomplished a lot of what it wanted offensively, but the defense couldn’t stop the rushing attack of the Thomson Bulldogs, eventually falling 51-27.
The Bulldogs, ranked No. 6 in Class AAA, ran the ball 48 times for 528 yards, with senior running back Chris Jordan finishing with 25 carries for 325 yards and three third-quarter touchdowns.
“I was disappointed with the way we played defense, and we’ll have to get that corrected,” said Panthers head coach Jarrett Troxler. “Tonight we played against a very good, very athletic offense.”
The Bulldogs threw just 10 times – once in the second half – but Chris Tutt completed eight of them, including scores of 38 and 64 yards to Ryan Kelly in the first half.
Not everything went wrong defensively. The Panthers made two fumble recoveries and blocked a punt to help set up a score.
It was a close game at the half, with Thomson leading 15-11.
The Bulldogs scored two quick touchdowns and, trailing 27-18, the Panthers got a bad break with just under five minutes left in the third quarter. Quarterback Hunter Banks went down with a knee injury after running a quarterback draw deep in Bulldogs’ territory. He would not return.
To that point, Banks had been having an outstanding game, completing 14 of 17 for 236 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown pass to JaVeon Brigham.
Junior Tom Proctor came on at quarterback and an offensive pass interference call put the Panthers in a hole and they punted for just the second time. His second possession lasted just one play but with better results. From the shotgun he rolled right and threw to a wide-open Josh Jones, who took it in for a 69-yard touchdown, cutting the Bulldogs’ (2-0) lead to 43-27 with 10:10 to play in the game.
“We were deflated a little when Banks went out,” said Troxler. “Tom Proctor has been working his butt off all summer though and I didn’t hesitate to put him in.”
Proctor would finish five of seven for 103 yards and the score.
The Panthers have an extra week to get ready for Westside Sept. 21.
It was a good night for county private schools. Not so much for the public schools.
Augusta Christian (3-0) beat Cardinal Newman 55-12 as Thomas Banks ran for 206 yards and four scores on just eight carries.
Augusta Prep (2-0) beat Curtis Baptist 31-12. Jack Owen passed for 108 yards while Kevin Huggins ran for 77.
North Augusta took out Greenbrier (1-1) 35-7. The Wolfpack got down early and couldn’t recover. Jeremy Harden rushed for 176 yards and a touchdown in the unsuccessful effort.
Swainsboro beat Grovetown (0-2) 20-17 while Oglethorpe County beat Harlem (0-2) 35-13.