Wolfpack running back Jamal Richard scored on a 20-yard rush with 2:31 left in the half, giving the Wolfpack a 17-13 lead. The Panthers then went 80 yards in eight plays, with quarterback Tanner Brassell capping it off by hitting Daniel Cotty for a 18-yard touchdown with 24 seconds left in the half.
“That was a big play right before half,” said Wolfpack head coach Kevin Hunt, who saw his Wolfpack drop to 1-6, 0-4 in Region 2-AAAAA. “It let some air out of our sails."
The biggest play of the drive was a 59-yard completion from Brassell to BJ Raymond, down to the Wolpack’s 8-yard-line. Brassell rolled right and got the ball away just as he was slammed out of bounds. Raymond out-jumped the defender, tipped the ball in the air and came down with it.
“I took a pretty good hit,” said Brassell. “I was trying to buy some time and the receiver made a good catch.”
Panthers head coach Jarrett Troxler agreed.
“BJ Raymond made a great play,” he said. “It was a big play, we like to take shots.”
The Panthers improved to 4-3 overall and 3-1 in region.
The Panthers got the ball to start the third quarter and increased their lead to 27-17 in just three plays. On the second play from scrimmage, Brassell hit running back Josh Jones, who went for a 60-yard gain down to the Wolfpack 14. Jalen Harrison went in for the touchdown on the next play.
While Brassell threw for 175 yards, the Panthers gained 202 on the ground with four players over 50 yards for the night.
After scoring 17 points in the first half, the Wolfpack were taken out of their element and forced to throw the ball more. They were able to just complete three passes in 17 second-half attempts with an interception and failed to score.
Penalties hurt both teams throughout the game as they combined for 26 penalties for 230 yards. Somehow the Panthers were able to overcome penalties seemingly on every drive as they finished with 17-150.
“I’m extremely upset about the penalties and that’s on me,” Troxler said. “We’re going to correct that on Monday.”