Both teams got out to a slow start early in this match up as neither offense could get a solid drive.
In the latter part of the 1st quarter, the Panthers began to build some momentum, and eventually scored early in the 2nd quarter on a 10 yard scamper by running back Michael Young. After a nice return to their 40 yard line, the Eagle's fumbled on the first play from scrimmage. The Panthers recovered the fumble and ran the ball to the Eagle 26 yard line. The Panthers took a quick shot at the end zone and quarterback Will Cambell connected on a 26 six yard pass to Vaughn Howard. The Eagles then put together a 7 play, 60 yard drive to bring the score within 7 points. At the end of the 1st half, it was Panthers 14, Eagles 7.
In the 3rd quarter, the Panthers put together a long drive, but fumbled the ball on the Eagle 2 yard line. Then the battle for field position began. The Eagles pinned the Panthers back on their own 12 yard line on a 4th and 16. The snap came out too low for Panther punter Josh Epstein to handle, and the Eagles got the safety to make the score 14-9. After moving the ball down the field, the Eagles converted on a 4th and 4. They then scored from 22 yards out on a pass from Japhet Leviticus to tight end Mason Gibbs. After a missed 2 point conversion, the Eagles lead 15-14. After trading possession a few times, the Panthers faced a 4th and 2. Quarterback Will Cambell rolled to his left and found a wide open Derek Kirkland for a 61 yard score to put the Panthers ahead 20-15. The Eagles tried to make a miraculous comeback, but the Panther defense was just too much. The final score was 20-15.
Bottom Line: The #4 ranked Eagles were not as prepared as they thought for the Panthers, and it cost them the city championship and the outright conference championship.
Game Balls: The entire Panther's defense which shut down the Eagle offense when it mattered most.