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.
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.
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.
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!