Panthers tame Junior Cyclones

By Allen LaMountain

   CHURCH HILL -- Some advance scouting by Church Hill head coach David Kelly helped his team shut down some of T.A. Dugger's best plays, and achieve a 14-12 win over the Cyclones on Tuesday night at Mike Johnson Memorial Stadium.
   The Cyclones fell to 4-1, while the Panthers improved to 2-3.
   "We gave up some big plays," said junior Cyclone head coach Brian Culbert. "The fake punt was a big play. They made one big play on the option. We were out of position a couple of times on defense, and made a lot of little mistakes."
   Church Hill's Aaron Crawford racked up 123 yards on 15 carries, including a 48-yard touchdown gallop, and also threw a 27 yard touchdown pass on a halfback option play to give the Panthers a 14-12 lead they would never relinquish.
   "We made some adjustments at halftime," said Kelly. "We ran some option plays to get to the corner. (TAD) were bunching up in the middle and we thought if we could get one-on-one with the corner that some good things would happen."
   The junior Cyclones opened the game by going on a 14-play, 64 yard drive to a touchdown that took all but 33 seconds of the first period.
   Tailback Curtis McKeehan took it in the last two yards to give Dugger a 6-0 lead, but the run for two failed.
   On the Panthers first possession, Church Hill drove to the TAD 10 yard line from where James Peterson picked off a Seth Leinbach aerial at the goal line and took the ball back to the 16 yard line.
   Dugger desperately drove for some points before the break, but a penalty set them back and the Cyclones settled for the six point advantage.
   TAD gave up solid field position to start the third period as an onside kick didn't travel the 10-yards necessary, giving the Panthers possession at the TAD 48 yard line.
   Crawford cashed in the good field position with a 48 yard gallop to tie the score at 6-6. Church Hill was good on it's two-point try however, as Leinbach hit Lucas Hurd on the deuce to make it an 8-6 contest.
   The Panthers subsequent kickoff bounced off the hands of Cyclone deep back Aaron Bray and rolled to the five yard line. Bray then made a huge play by returning the kick for a 95 yard touchdown that saw Dugger take a 12-8 lead.
   Again the two-point conversion failed for Dugger, and those lost points would come back to haunt them later.
   Church Hill got a fine return of 40 yards on the kickoff by Crawford to the Dugger 40 yard line, setting up the Panthers in solid field position once again.
   The play of the game came on fourth down and seven from the TAD 27 yard line, as Crawford took the handoff, rolled right and found Hurd wide open in the endzone.
   Church Hill failed on it's deuce, but held a 14-12 advantage with the fourth period on the horizon.
   A sack by Morelock set the Cyclones back on their next possession, as Dugger fell two yards short of a first down on a fourth and five try.
   On it's next possession TAD once again was held to downs and Church Hill took possession at it's own 37 yard line with 3:12 left in regulation.
   With Crawford banging for the tough yards, Church Hill never let the Cyclones get possession of the football again, running out the clock on it's biggest win of the season.
   "Down the stretch I was impressed with their running back (Crawford)," said Culbert. "I thought he did a real good job."