Turnovers, penalties cost Georgiana in region tilt

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 14, 2005

After being in cloud nine for the last two weeks following Georgiana's season-opening victory over Samson, the Panthers were knocked down a few clouds Friday night at Harmon Field.

Third-ranked Class 2A Southern Choctaw turned three Georgiana fumbles into touchdowns and kept all-state running back Zane Stackhouse out of the end zone all but once to come away with a 45-18 victory.

Stackhouse managed 154 yards on 18 carries, but Indians coach Larry Boykin knew that the Panther tailback would get his yards.

"We knew he would get his, but we didn't want their quarterback to complete many passes or give up any 40- or 50-yard runs," Boykin said. "We were able to control him a little and that certainly made a difference."

While Stackhouse accounted for all but 50 yards of Georgiana's offense, the Panthers helped give the win to Southern Choctaw by putting the ball on the ground too many times.

The Indians jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on fumbles.

Georgiana lost the handle on the pigskin on the opening kick off to set up Southern Choctaw's first scoring drive at the Panther 31 yard line.

The Indians (3-0) needed just seven plays before Jekerio Johnson found some room to the left side and scooted in from 4 yards out.

Southern Choctaw's second TD came on a Stackhouse fumble on the Indian 48. Boykin's club marched right down the field with Marty Frost scoring one of two touchdowns on the night.

So did a two week layoff because of Hurricane Katrina play any factor into the Panthers' sloppy play. Georgiana coach Greg Ennis said it may have something to do with it, but he said the real blame lies with himself.

"Our kids played hard, but we didn't give them what they needed for this game," he said. "They were not mentally prepared for what they were about to do. I did a horrible job, because they were not prepared for this."

Hurricane Katrina postponed a majority of the games slated for play last week in the south Alabama region. Georgiana was supposed to open Region 1, Class 2A play on the road at Bayside Academy, but that game never materialized.

So the Panthers had two weeks to prepare for Southern Choctaw.

"It's hard to sit out two weeks and then ask our kids to prepare for a team like this," Ennis said.

And maybe the turnovers and penalties were a result of the long layoff.

Georgiana finally got on the board with 8:52 left in the first half.

Stackhouse hit starting quarterback Andre Paige on a halfback throwback pass from the left side to the right side to catch the over-pursuit of Southern Choctaw's defense for a 21-yard touchdown to draw the Panthers within a touchdown of their region foe.

But the Indians regained their two-touchdown lead and added on to it by scoring two more TDs before the half on a 15-yard run by John Pasclex and a 8-yard pass from Skylar Gibson to Frost.

Georgiana managed to keep within striking distance of Southern Choctaw thanks to Stackhouse's 1-yard run with 2:12 in the first half, but the Panthers could not stall the Indians' offense.

Leading 26-12 at the half, the Indians tacked on touchdowns early and late in the third quarter and one early in the fourth quarter to close out the victory.

Georgiana managed one more touchdown with four minutes left in the game on a 3-yard blast by Panther fullback Will Langham.

Southern Choctaw finished with 353 yards of total offense, while limiting the Panthers to 204.