North Cobb puts damper on Panthers’ home opener

Senior+defensive+backs+Hayden+Beyer+and+Joshua+Roberts+gang+tackle+North+Cobb%E2%80%99s+quarterback+Tyler+Queen.+

Mikaela Karson Mizell

Senior defensive backs Hayden Beyer and Joshua Roberts gang tackle North Cobb’s quarterback Tyler Queen.

Marco Amalfitano, Staff Writer

The home opener ended badly for the Panthers last Friday night with a 42-3 loss to North Cobb.

It was the first meeting between these two teams. North Cobb is a Region 4-AAAAAA school and the Panthers a Region 4B- AAAAA team.

“We’re having some growing pains,” head coach Chad Phillips said. “That was the first Friday night game for some of the guys. We had three new varsity players on offense and defense.”

With the loss of the last year’s leading rusher junior John Smith, many young Panthers had to fill his role.

“I’m proud of the way the new guys stepped up,” Phillips said. Junior Gerren Smith rushed for 43 yards in 15 carries and freshman Dion Munerlyn carried 11 times for 51 yards.

Junior Kyle Moseley completed 9-of-21 passes for 86 yards with no interceptions in his first varsity game. “I was nervous, but I felt comfortable after a couple of snaps,” Moseley said.

The Panther offense never passed North Cobb’s 23 yard line. The longest drive was a 10-play, 57-yard effort that resulted in a 40-yard field goal by senior kicker Daniel Rorick 4:53 into the second quarter.

The Panthers were outrushed by North Cobb with the Warriors gaining 163 yards and eight first downs in the first quarter alone. North Cobb outgained the Panthers 458 yards to 171, passing for 236 yards and rushing for 222.

“They’re definitely an experienced team,” Phillips said. “Success is going to be a growing process with us.”

The Panthers rushed for 85 yards and passed for 86 in a balanced attack.  They also converted 3-of -16 third-down attempts and were 0-2 on fourth down.

North Cobb averaged at least 9 yards per play on first down and 11 yards per play on second down. “We just came out soft,” senior linebacker Joe Vinson said. We have to step it up in practice so that we can play better in games. We have a good feel for what we want our defense to be like. Now we just have to fine tune it and perfect it.”

The Panther defense held its ground on third and fourth down as North Cobb was 2-of-7 on third-down conversions and 0-3 on fourth down. Senior defensive back Joshua Roberts also had an interception halfway through the second quarter.

Despite the final score, the Panthers stayed close trailing 15-3 at the half and 22-3 at the end of the third quarter. Two fourth-down turnovers late in the fourth quarter in the Panthers own territory helped the Warriors put up 20 unanswered points to put away the game.