Panthers leveled by Red Level

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 9, 2006

The Georgiana Panthers dropped to 2-4 on the season as the Red Level Tigers scored a key region win by the score of 34-23 Friday night at Harmon Field.

The Panthers fell behind by the score of 27-9 but the team staged a furious comeback to cut the margin to 27-23 with 2:30 left in the game.

However, the Tigers sealed the deal as Terrance Marshall converted a crucial third down when he raced down the sidelines for a 43-yard touchdown with 44 seconds left.

Georgiana head coach Donald Ray Mixon, Jr. was proud of his team's effort.

&#8220We didn't quit,” Mixon said, &#8220Our team fought back and got close at the end but it just didn't happen tonight.”

The Georgiana offense opened it up near the end of the third quarter and converted on some key plays.

&#8220We had to open things up,” Mixon said. &#8220It worked for the most part but we couldn't stop Red Level on that third down play.”

&#8220That team had an answer to everything we threw at them.

There coaching staff did an excellent job tonight and you can't that away from them.,” he said.

As Mixon stated, just when it seemed Georgiana was taking the momentum for good, the Tigers would snatch it out of their hands.

A case in point was when Georgiana came out and took a 3-0 lead on a 25-yard field goal with 45 seconds left in the opening quarter.

The 11-play 46-yard drive took five minutes off the clock.

The Tigers countered by driving 53 yards for a 7-3 lead with eight minutes remaining in the half.

Tiger quarterback Blake Pate threw a nine-yard TD pass to Andrew Odom to cap off this drive.

After going three and out, Georgiana was forced to punt and the Tigers picked up where they left off.

This time, Pate tossed a 40 yard TD pass to Ray Knight with 2:53 left in the half.

Knight caught the sidelines and broke away from his defender and gave the Tigers a 13-3 lead.

Georgiana then opened up the offense.

The Panthers would drive 70 yards on just seven plays and score a touchdown with 5:33 left in the third.

Junior Zebbie Mitchell took a toss sweep from Paige and fired a 28-yard TD pass to a diving Damien McIntosh.

&#8220That play call was a nice one.

The catch that Damien made was spectacular,” Mixon said.

&#8220Now there's a sophomore who will be a great player for us for the next couple of years.”

The Panthers couldn't hold onto that momentum as the Tigers took only 12 seconds and one play to increase the lead to 27-9 with 5:12 remaining in the third quarter.

This time, runningback Clay Marshall busted through the middle and rumbled 55 yards for the TD.

Instead of packing it in for the night, the Panthers caught fire and reeled off 14 unanswered points to shave the lead to 27-23.

Paige threw some key passes down the stretch.

Paige led the Panthers on an 80-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown.

Paige found junior Terrence Matthews on a 50-yard bomb with eight minutes left in the game to cut the lead to 27-15.

Senior Cornelius McMeans converted the two-point conversion to shave it to 27-17.

The drive included a fake punt as McMeans bolted 15 yards for the fourth down conversion.

The Panthers drove down again on a 10-play, 58-yard drive that was capped off by a acrobatic nine yard TD catch by senior Kyle Nelson in the waning minutes.

&#8220This team showed heart tonight and the coaching staff is pleased with them,” Mixon said.

The Panthers' offense had 366 total yards including 197 yards in the air from Paige.

&#8220Andre played well and helped get us back in the game,” Mixon said.

Defensively, seniors Dedric Rich had eight tackles and Scott McMeans had six takedowns each.

The Panthers return to action Friday night at home against Flomaton. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.