Football News 2017 Hackleburg Write Up
2017 Hackleburg Write Up PDF Print E-mail
Written by Allen J. Dunavant   
Monday, 02 October 2017 00:00

The Lions headed north to visit the Hackleburg Panthers on Friday night facing-off against their second non-region game of the season. The Panthers won the coin toss electing to receiving the opening kick and getting the highly anticipated match-up underway. 

Facing first down from the 16-yard line, Zach Hubbert took the hand-off from Quarterback Ethan Nichols and followed his offensive line up field to the Panthers 28-yard line where the ball was stripped away on the tackle resulting in the first turn over of early in the game. The Panthers were quick to make the recovery setting themselves up for their first offensive possession. However, the turn-over stalled as defensive stops by Blake Anthony and Hubbert quickly left Hackleburg facing third down and three at their own 35-yard line. Fighting for the needed yardage, Stone Fincher took the hand-off around the right side of the line of scrimmage but was met by Tanner Upton and other Lion defenders with the ball being fumbling on the take-down with Brady Tucker making the recovery for the Lions at the Panthers 44-yard line.

Hubbertville moved the ball just inside the Panthers 33-yard line and facing fourth down and inches, Upton was met at the line for the stop turning the ball back over to the Panthers just near their own 34-yard line. Kaleb Moore was brought down in the backfield by Lathan Holliday and Upton for the sack on first down and following a stop on Fincher by Aaron Cribb and Upton, the Panthers went to the passing attack on third down but the pass was overthrown sailing out of bounds and forcing the Panthers to punt the ball away on fourth down.

The Lions took possession at their own 38-yard line utilizing the rushing attack of Holliday, Upton and Hubbert.  Back to back first downs advanced the ball deep down field on the Panthers defense. Facing second down and nine at the Panthers 34-yard line, Nichols connected on the passing attack with Brady Tucker who scrambled down field to the 1-yard line before being brought down just before reaching the end zone. With the snap of the ball on first down, the Lions fumbled the ball away once again and the Panthers recovered the ball with the nose of the football just shy of the goal line.

Fincher took the hand-off up the middle but was meet by Nick Selman, Upton, Cirbb and Anthony for the stop after a 1-yard gain. Sticking with Fincher on second down, the Panthers advanced the ball around the left end where Hubbert made the tackle at the 13-yard line. First down brought Anthony into the backfield untouched for the sack on Moore as the first quarter came to a close.

The Lions defense held the Panthers on the possession and following defensive stops by Upton, Holliday, Anthony and others the Panthers were facing fourth down and eight at their own 15-yard line. Following the Panthers punt from their own end zone the Lions started their possession at their own 47-yard line and three plays later, facing fourth and five at the Panthers 48-yard line, Holliday lined up and punted the ball away with the ball rolling out of bounds just inside the 20-yard line. 

The Panthers took the ball downfield utilizing the rushing attack and their passing game but the possession stalled at the Lions 23-yard line. Facing fourth down and 14-yards, Moore attempted a pass connection in the end zone but the ball sailed high and out of bounds setting the Lions up with the possession deep in their own territory. 

The Lions offensive possession was quickly shut down following unsuccessful rushing attacks forcing Holliday to once again punt the ball away with the ball to come to a rolling stop at the Panthers 28-yard line. 

Following a penalty against the Panthers on first down, Selman and Hubbert fought their way into the backfield sacking Moore and leaving the Panthers facing second down and thirteen at the 24-yard line. With a quick snap of the ball, Moore attempted a pass connection with Evan Crowe but the pass was incomplete bringing up third down. Fincher got the call to fight for yardage but the solo tackle by Cribb left the Panthers facing fourth down and nine with Ty Raper punting the ball away. 

Nichols and the Lions offensive front began their last possession of the first half at their own 40-yard line and following a rushing attack by Upton, Nichols connected thru the air with Hubbert who advanced the ball across mid-field to the Panthers 48-yard line with the Lions calling time-out to save time on the game clock. Sticking with the passing game, Nichols connected with Hubbert once again with Hubbert advancing to the 39-yard line but the drive came to a halt turning the ball over to the Panthers following back-to-back incomplete passes and a stop on Upton by Alex Galloway and Levi Raffel.

With the snap of the ball Moore connected over the middle on a pass with Fincher who was brought down by Gage Alexander for the stop at the Lions 30-yard line. Moore went deep into the end zone with the next passing attempt but the ball fell incomplete out of the hands of Fincher with 1.5 seconds remaining on the clock. Following a quick time-out by their coaching staff, the Panthers once again went to the end zone with a passing attempt but the ball again fell incomplete as time expired on the first half resulting in no scoring from either team in the opening half of the game.

Returning from the locker rooms, Mario Gonzales booted the second half opening kick to the Panthers 23-yard line with the Panthers advancing the ball up field but a penalty reverted the ball to the 25-yard line where Moore and his offensive front wasted little time in moving the ball to the end zone. First down brought Fincher around the right side of the line for a nine yard gain and on second down Moore called his own number taking the ball 66-yards to the end zone for the first score of the night. The PAT kick was no good and with 10:57 the home-standing Panthers were on the score board.

Noah Barnetts kick was recovered at the Lion 43-yard line by Anthony setting the Lions offensive front up for their first possession of the second half. The Panthers defense held strong forcing Holliday to punt the ball away with the ball rolling out of bounds at the Panthers 16-yard line. The Panther possession was short-lived also after back to back first downs with Cribb recovering the fumble for the Lions at the Panthers 49-yard line. Once again the possession for the Lions came to a halt following three downs, forcing Holliday to boot the ball away with the ball rolling dead at the Panthers 14-yard line.

Sticking with the rushing attack the Panthers moved the ball downfield utilizing Fincher, Crowe and Barnett. Facing first down at the Lions 34-yard line, Moore called upon Crowe for the hand-off with Crowe racing untouched to the end zone for the score with 1:48 remaining in the third quarter. The two point conversion on the PAT was successful leaving the Panthers in the lead 14 - 0.

The ensuing possession by the Lions offensive was short lived. On the third play of the possession, Nichols' pass was picked-off by Moore who raced into the end zone for the quick six with 35.9 seconds remaining in the quarter. Following the successful pass in the end zone on the PAT the score stood 22 - 0 in favor of the Panthers.

The ensuing kick by Barnett was received at the 18-yard line by Upton who advanced to the 21-yard line where he was met for the stop by a host of defenders. First down brought Hubbert out of the backfield with the hand-off for a five yard gain with Galloway and a host of others on the stop as the third quarter came to a close. On second down Upton took the hand-off around the right end and was knocked out of bounds at midfield giving the Lions a first down. Following rushing attacks by Hubbert and Upton, the Lions were facing third down and seven when Nichols connected thru the air with Hubbert who fought his way down the right side of the field reaching the 13-yard line before Moore and Raper could bring him down for the stop. On second down, Upton took the hand-off over the right side of the line following his blockers to the end zone for the Lion touchdown with 8:15 remaining in the game. The two point conversion on the PAT came up short with Upton ruled as being down by the officials just shy of the goal line leaving the score 22 - 6 in favor of the Panthers.

Gonzales' ensuing kick sailed deep into the end zone setting Moore and the Panthers offensive front up at their own 20-yard line. First down brought a holding penalty against the Panthers and on the replay of down, Cribb stopped Fincher after a two-yard gain. Facing second down at the 15-yard line the Panthers were penalized again for a holding infraction and with the snap of the ball, Hubbert made the interception taking the ball back to the Panthers 12-yard line.

Upton took the hand-off over the right side of the line for a one yard gain on first down and on second down the possession was shut down as Nichols' pass was intercepted in the end zone moving the ball out to the 20-yard line where Moore and the Panthers began their last offensive drive of the game. Back to back stops on Fincher by Upton and Cribb left the Panthers facing third down and seven at their own 23-yard line. Moore called on Raper and connected with a passing attack moving the ball across mid-field to the Panthers 47-yard line with Anthony and Tucker on the stop. With the snap, Fincher took the hand-off deeper on the Lions with Tucker making the solo saving tackle at the 22-yard line. Hubbert and Cribb met Moore at the line on first down for the stop and on second down the Panthers were penalized for a false start. On the replay of down, Moore attempted a goal line pass connection with Sawyer Lynch but the pass fell incomplete with Nichols on coverage for the Lions. Third down brought Fincher out of the backfield with the hand-off but Cribb and Hubbert were in position for the stop leaving the Panthers facing fourth down from the 30-yard line. Following a time-out by the Lions, Tucker intercepted Moores pass in the end zone for the Lions shutting down the scoring threat.

The final offensive possession for the Lions was short lived following back to back defensive stops by Moore and others and forcing the Lions to punt the ball away with under a minute remaining on the game clock. With their possession the Panthers allowed time to expire and exited the playing field with the 22 - 6 win over the Lions.  

Friday night the Lions return to Region play and will celebrate Homecoming in
Wiley Hollingsworth Stadium by hosting the Saints of Holy Spirit. Game time is 7:00p.m.

Comments from Head Coach Lamar Harris:
"The guys played really hard and were very physical in tonight's game. The first offensive play of the game was a big disheartening as we lost the ball setting deep within scoring position and that's never a good way to start a game. We had two missed opportunities early on in this game and both opportunities could have brought momentum our way, but the outcome reverted on us allowing them to gain momentum. The fumble on the one yard line on our third possession.... close to the end of the first quarter, was another big missed opportunity. To win games you have to capitalize on those type of opportunities. Offensively we were inept in our decisions, we were basically whipped on the line of scrimmage and we just couldn't contain possession nor could we move the ball. That first drive immediately following the half-time break broke the scoring silence and sort of took the air out of our fight which resulted in a very long third quarter. Basically we were just not able to block their line defensively and then we were not able to move the ball offensively, which resulted in the out-come of this game. I'm proud that we scored the touchdown and I thought that we could possibly get on-track following the ensuing kick-off after the quick interception, but our possession didn't last very long as they intercepted the pass in the end zone quickly shutting us down.
You can't win games turning the ball over. Bottom line for tonight's game is "we just weren't inept in our decision making" and that in-turn cost us a very hard fought game."

 
 

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