Excel edges Georgiana; Panthers facing St. Jude for homecoming

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 26, 2005

It may sound like a skipping record

to most, but it's one record that Georgiana coach Greg Ennis would love to break over his knee.

The Panthers had committed 57 turnovers heading into Saturday's Region 1, Class 2A finale at Excel. Georgiana committed three turnovers Saturday including a fumble inside the Excel red zone with 5:12 left to play that cost Georgiana a 14-12 defeat.

&#8220I thought we came out and the second half and played really well,” Ennis said. &#8220We just kept sputtering and fumbling the ball. We played well enough to win, but just didn't get it done.”

Even with the three turnovers, Georgiana looked as though it would have a chance to win the game.

Zane Stackhouse intercepted an Excel pass attempt with 2:52 left in the game and returned the ball to the Georgiana 49. But Ennis' Panthers (3-6) started going backward instead of forward.

Georgiana was hit with a 5-yard penalty and then lost another yard on a running play. Excel forced Georgiana into a throwing situation, which

the visiting Panthers could not convert.

Georgiana now closes out the season this Friday night with non-region foe St. Jude for its homecoming. St. Jude picked up its second win of the season last Friday by holding off Verbena,26-24.

The Pirates (2-7) have been notorious for putting the ball in the air, but that's not the case this season with freshman quarterback Ivey Moscatella .

&#8220They had a great quarterback last year (Jason Bruce), so they are not throwing it as much,” Ennis said. &#8220This kid they have is a little younger, but I expect them to throw it around a good bit.”

While Georgiana has struggled with turnovers this season, the Panthers don't show any signs of quitting on themselves.

That rang true again Saturday night at Excel. Trailing 14-0 at the half, Georgiana regrouped and played its way back in the ballgame.

After forcing Excel to punt on its first possession of the second half, Georgiana's Steven Campbell gave the visiting Panthers excellent field position at the Excel 21 following a 44-yard punt return.

Two plays later, Stackhouse scored his first of two touchdowns from 18 yards out to draw Georgiana within a touchdown of Excel.

After an exchange of turnovers, Georgiana

was on the move again following a Brandon Simpson interception return to the Excel 34.

Six plays later, the visiting Panthers were knocking on the doorstep of the Excel end zone from 3 yards out.

On fourth-and-goal from the 3, Stackhouse took the toss sweep to the left side and dove beyond the left pylon for the touchdown with 9:28 left to play.

Georgiana elected to try to tie the game up with a two-point conversion pass, but it was intercepted.

Stackhouse finished the night rushing for 119 yards.