JV Panthers edge out Chiefs in high scoring shootout

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Kristen Sherman

Freshman Kaylen Sims runs in a touchdown for Starr’s Mill. The Panthers dominant run game was led by Sims, racking up six TDs in Starr’s Mill’s 57-42 victory over cross-town rival McIntosh.

John Webb, Staff Writer

In the recent match up between region rivals, the JV McIntosh football team came to Panther Stadium to take on Starr’s Mill in the two teams’ season finale. The mini “Battle of the Bubble” was an exciting, high-scoring shootout between two offensive-minded teams that ended in a 57-42 Panther victory.

Starr’s Mill went into the game with drive to win. “We wanted to close out our season with a big win against McIntosh,” freshman running back Kaylen Sims said.

Panthers defend a McIntosh pass attempt. The Chiefs found offensive success in the air throughout the game, but they could not match the Starr’s Mill ground attack.
Kristen Sherman
Panthers defend a McIntosh pass attempt. The Chiefs found offensive success in the air throughout the game, but they could not match the Starr’s Mill ground attack.

The scoring started early as McIntosh scored halfway through the first quarter and then completed a two-point conversion to start the game off 8-0 in favor of the Chiefs.

Starr’s Mill’s rough start continued ten seconds later when the Panthers fumbled the ball and gave McIntosh great field position on Starr’s Mill 20-yard-line.

McIntosh’s main weapon came through the air as they scored again to go up two scores on the Panthers and make the score 14-0 with 4:21 remaining in the first quarter. The Panthers halted the Chiefs’ attempt at a two-point conversion, keeping the deficit at 14 points.

With 42 seconds left in the first, Sims punched in a run and the Panthers elected to kick the extra point. The extra point was good and the first quarter ended with a 14-7 scoreline.

Almost immediately after the start of the second quarter, McIntosh scored yet another passing touchdown and this time completed their two point conversion attempt to get the lead to 22-7 with 9:08 remaining before halftime.

In similar fashion to Starr’s Mill’s first score, the Panthers responded quickly to McIntosh’s score as Sims put his second touchdown of the day in the back of the end zone with 7:35 remaining before the break.

My line was doing well executing their blocks.”

— freshman running back Kaylen Sims

Just before halftime, McIntosh threw to sophomore receiver Zach Jones for his second touchdown of the day. The Panther defense stepped up to deny the Chiefs another two-point conversion, making the score 28-14 Chiefs.

With the half seeming over, the Panthers took advantage of the little time they had remaining on the clock and scored yet another touchdown, this time coming from quarterback Hunter Lawson. The two teams headed into halftime with the Chiefs edging out the Panthers 28-21

Beginning the third quarter, Starr’s Mill came out strong and almost immediately scored another rushing touchdown. This score would be Sims’ third touchdown of the day but the extra point attempt would be blocked by McIntosh. The Chiefs help a one point lead, 28-27.

Starr’s Mill’s defense came up with a big stop and gave the Panthers the ball. Continuing the trend, Sims scored yet another rushing touchdown and also crossed the goal line on a successful two point conversion attempt to get the Panthers back on track and give the Panthers their first lead of the night making the scoreline 35-28.

Sims had immense success running the football throughout the entire game. “My line was doing well executing their blocks,” Sims said.

With less than two minutes left in the third quarter, Sims’ dominance continued as he scored again. The extra point attempt went through the uprights and the Panthers had a two-score lead with the score being 42-28.

McIntosh quickly recovered and scored a nearly 70-yard touchdown just 20 seconds after Sims scored.

Starr’s Mill countered with their own long play on a 50-yard touchdown to Kalen and Sims put in our second two-point conversion of the day. The score was now 50-34 for the Panthers.

On the next Starr’s Mill possession, the Panthers fumbled the ball and McIntosh recovered it. The Chiefs took advantage of this turnover and put another touchdown in with 6:30 left in the game. With the scoreboard reading  50-42, a Chiefs score and two-point conversion could tie the game.

The Panthers went right back to the run game to try and kill time as well as score yet another touchdown. Sims did just that and scored his sixth and final touchdown of the day for the Panthers with about five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The score was 57-42.

In the final substantial possession of the game, McIntosh fumbled the ball and the Panthers recovered it to gain control of the game.

Starr’s Mill ran the remaining clock out and the game concluded with the Panthers on top at the final whistle.

Sims was not the only key player for the Panthers, the offensive line played a big role in his success as well. “My line created a lot of space to allow me to read the defense and make my cuts,” Sims said.

As a freshman, Sims said he felt that he had an extra drive to hand the Chiefs a loss. “Initially, I was supposed to go to McIntosh, so it feels great to come out here and get this win,” Sims said.

After a hardfought game in which the Panthers attacked the ground game relentlessly and the Chiefs found success through the air, the Panthers closed out their season with a 4-3 record and their biggest win of the year in the mini “Battle of the Bubble.”