Geneva Panthers 2019-2020 Highlights

Panther Football: a very brief and very abridged history

Michael “sure I will do the article” Crews

As you all probably know, this year the Geneva High School Panther football team have made it to the first round of the state playoffs! This is first playoff appearance in the Coach Sanders era, and I thought it would be nice to write an article detailing our “Road to the Playoffs” and to mark this milestone in this coaching regime. I asked Coach Michael Crews to write this article about a week ago…but of course he hasn’t *sigh* so I’m going to publicly shame him with a somewhat less than flattering photo.

Anyway, having planned on Crews letting himself, me, PSN, and everyone else down, I had been doing my own research and was preparing to write the article myself, when I found a website just loaded with all sorts of statistics and records and other kinds of juicy football tidbits: The Alabama High School Football Historical Society.  I looked up Geneva High School, and found it very interesting to say the least, and thought I’d share some of the items I discovered that relate to Geneva Panther football.

The Geneva High School football team first took the field in 1922, and according to the website they played three games that year and ended in a 0-2-1 season, with loses to Walton County Florida and Red Level, and tying with Elba. The coach that year was listed as “unknown” so if anyone has any further information let us know and I will pass it along to the website owner. Also it is noteworthy to mention that the centennial celebration of Geneva High School football is just a couple of years away! PSN will have to plan something BIG huh?!?!

The first recorded coach on the website was Herst Mauldin in 1925. Coach Mauldin finished with a 5-2-1 winning record for the season outscoring his opponents 67-20 that year. Geneva would keep a season winning record for 5 straight years, until 1930 when they went 3-5-1 under the leadership of Coach Bully Hitchcock, who then was in his 4th season as the Panther head coach. Notable games that year was a 0-32 trouncing by Samson, a 0-27 loss to Dothan, and a 79-0 victory over Headland, which currently still holds the record for the most points scored in a game by the Panthers.  Just two years after that record setting game, Geneva was demolished by Opp 0-92 to set the record for an opponents’ greatest margin of victory, and also for most points allowed in a game. Let’s hope that last record isn’t broken any time soon!

Geneva’s overall record is 470-450-29, so just over a 50% winning record, but the Region/Area overall record is 120-122, so it also hovers around the 50% mark, though not on the side we would prefer. Geneva has had 81 All state players, and only 1 NFL player, Mr. Siran Stacy.

Geneva’s record against its in county rivals include the longest running Rivalry against Slocomb at 82 games with Geneva winning 50 of those and Slocomb winning 29, with 3 ties between them.

Geneva vs Geneva County shows Geneva leading 41-34-2 overall, and Geneva vs Samson coming in at 47-16-2, giving the Geneva Panthers an all time win record over all three in-county rivals.

Other more recent records are the last time Geneva shutout an opponent, when the Panthers defeated Samson 16-0 on September  21st 2018, and the last time Geneva was shutout, which also occurred in September 2018 with a 0-41 loss to Providence Christian.

Geneva High Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Les Sanders

This year marks Coach Les Sanders’ fifth year at the helm of the Geneva football program, and over his five year tenure he has a 26-23 overall record, and a 14-20 Region Record.

This will be the Panthers’ first trip to the State Playoffs since 2014 where they went to the second round under head Coach Donnie Chesteen where they lost 6-34 against Dale County. Their first round playoff that year was against Aliceville, and the panthers won that game 17-14. Coach Chesteen was the GHS head coach from 1985-1987 and again from 2012-2014. Coach Sanders directly followed him.

Former GHS Head Coach and current Senator, Donnie Chesteen

Battle of the Panthers

Geneva traveled to Wicksburg on Friday night in a Battle of the Panthers.

Wicksburg would receive the ball to start off the ball game and would take advantage. Wicksburg took their time driving down field. The Wicksburg Panthers took off six minutes from the clock before Wicksburg’s quarterback called his own number and punched it in for a touchdown. The Wicksburg Panthers would kick the extra point to make it 7-0 with six minutes left in the first quarter. Geneva would try to answer back in the first but would not be able to because of time running out.

Although time ran out in the first, this does not mean the Geneva Panthers would just stop. Geneva would continue where they left off in the first quarter. After driving down field in the first and finally getting into the red-zone, Kahari McReynolds would call his own number and take it into the end-zone to get Geneva on board with 11:00 minutes left in the second quarter. Two point conversion would be no good.

Wicksburg would answer back, once again they were controlling the clock while going downfield, the Wicksburg Panthers hand the ball off and get in on a 2-yard touchdown. Extra point would be no good. With 5:05 left in the half the Geneva Panthers would try to get into the end-zone, but would be stopped short. Wicksburg went into half with a 13-6 lead over Geneva.

Geneva would receive the ball to start off the second half. On the first play of the third quarter Kahari McReynolds would take the hand-off and take it to the house for an early third quarter touchdown. Two point conversion would be no good. Geneva cut Wicksburg’s lead down to one, 13-12. Geneva stopped Wicksburg and would get the ball back. The Geneva Panthers would continue with their momentum they had built and would drive down field. Damion Kemmerlin would connect with Kahari McReynolds, on a bubble pass to the right side, and McReynolds would take it in to finally give Geneva the lead. Two point conversion would be good. Geneva would have a 20-13 lead over Wicksburg but Wicksburg would not quit. With 1:59 left in the third quarter Wicksburg would find a hole and punch it in for a touchdown. Two point conversion would be good and Wicksburg would go into the fourth quarter with a 21-20 lead over Geneva.

Preston hauls in the ball for a 38 yard TD pass. Photo courtesy of Melanie Garner.

Geneva would start the fourth quarter off well. After driving down field, Damion Kemmerlin would connect with Preston Garner for a 38 yard touchdown pass, but the two point conversion would be no good. After the touchdown pass, Geneva had a 26-21 lead over Wicksburg. Wicksburg would do their normal time control and get down into the red-zone. The Wicksburg Panthers would go for a fourth down after a couple nice plays by Geneva, but WOULD BE STOPPED! Geneva would get the ball back after the huge fourth down stop by the Geneva Panther’s fighting defense. Geneva would hand the ball off a couple times to run the clock out. After a couple of hand-offs, time would finally go out. Geneva defeats Wicksburg 26-21.

Final score 25-21, and Geneva is off to the playoffs! And this is another shamelessly stolen Melanie Garner photo!

After the huge win over Wicksburg, Geneva has clinched a spot in the PLAYOFFS!!!

Before playoffs, Geneva will travel on Nov. 1 to take on Calhoun.

Sadly, PSN will not be attending.

As always,

GO PANTHERS!

Fourth Down Fireworks

The Geneva Panthers went on the road Friday night to face the Straughn Tigers in a pivotal Region game. The Panthers came into the game with a 3-2 record on the season and a 1-2 region record, while Straughn was 1-4 on the season and 1-2 in the region.

The Panthers received the opening kickoff and quickly went three and out. Following a Straughn possession, Geneva got on the board quickly as Junior quarterback Damion Kemmerlin bolted 65 yards for a TD and an early 6-0 lead.

On the Tigers 2nd possession, the Panther defense got a heavy dose of Junior running back, Trey Strickland. Strickland scampered 36 yards to the Panther one yard line before scoring a touchdown on the next play. Tommy Townsend converted the PAT to give Straughn the 7-6 lead with 4:41 to go in the 1st quarter.

Kahari McReynolds didn’t let the Panthers trail for long as he returned the following kickoff 75 yards for a TD. The two point conversion failed but the Panthers now held a 12-7 lead.

The Geneva defense came up big and forced a Tiger punt on their next possession; however, the Panther offense turned the ball over as Kemmerlin’s pass to McReynolds hit the ground behind the line of scrimmage and Jaylon Sigers scooped up the fumble and scored a 20 yard TD. Townsend connected on the PAT to make it 14-12 Tigers.

On the ensuing Panther possession, Dylan Creech took the handoff from Kemmerlin and raced to the end zone for a 45 yard TD. Kahari McReynolds added the 2 point conversion to give the Panthers a 20-14 lead with 7:30 remaining in the first half.

Following a 4th down stop by the defense, Kemmerlin connected with McReynolds on a 66 yard screen pass to extend the lead to 26-14. The Panthers took this lead into the half.

Kahari gets into gear and runs pass several Tigers and gets the TD

The second half was almost completely dominated by the Tigers. They took the opening possession of the second half and went 70 yards on 12 plays taking 8 minutes off the clock as quarterback Adam Anderson converted a 4th down play into a Tiger touchdown. Townsend remained perfect on his PAT attempts and trimmed the Panther lead to 26-21.

Geneva only had 3 offensive possessions in the 2nd half. The first was a three and out and the second was stopped on a “bad” spot on a 4th and 1 play in Tiger territory. Straughn took over on downs and proceeded to bleed the clock as they drove down the field converting two fourth down conversions along the way. Strickland used the power of the left side of the offensive line and exploded for a 26 yard TD to take a 27-26 lead with 3 minutes to go in the game.

Preston Garner catches the ball and runs down the field to get a first down

On Geneva’s 3rd possession of the half, the offensive staff pulled out all the stops converting on 4th down twice. The first conversion was a 20 yard pass from Kemmerlin to TE Preston Garner over the middle of the field. The second conversion came on the final offensive play of the game for the Panthers as Kemmerlin connected with McReynolds on a 25 yard slant in the end zone for the game winning TD with 33 seconds remaining in the game.

Kahari about to catch the ball for the TD

Straughn had one more opportunity on offense but Damion Kemmerlin intercepted a pass to preserve the 32-27 victory. With the win, the Panthers improved to 4-2 on the season and 2-2 in the region. Straughn fell to 1-5 on the season and 1-3 in region play.

Kahari McReynolds led the way for the Panther offense with 3 touchdowns. He also had 10 tackles on defense including two for loss. Dylan Creech had 17 tackles on defense including two for loss. Creech also had a 45 yard rushing TD. Damion Kemmerlin had one rushing TD and completed 6 of 10 passes for 140 yards and 2 TD’s. He also had an interception on defense. Preston Garner had 2 receptions for 67 yards.

The Panthers return to Hugh Owen Memorial Stadium on Friday, October 11th at 7:00 p.m. for Homecoming vs. the Houston Academy Raiders. Pre-Game Homecoming festivities will begin at 6:40. Tune in to the Panther Sports Network for all of the Homecoming activities!

Get up Panther Nation!

IT IS GAME DAY!

Come out and support your Panthers! But if you can’t make the game, you can tune into the Panther Sports Network by going to http://GenevaPanthers.com and then clicking on the livestream link!

We will go on air as close to 6:45 as we can, and keep your fingers crossed that our Verizon MiFi will have a good enough signal to keep your video feed running smoothly!