Last Saturday, the Greenville Panthers struck once again with their sixth straight win of the season. The theme of the week for the Panthers was to honor all of the seniors through everything that they’d do. Everyone knew that the week coming into the game was going to be emotional for all of the seniors, so they wanted to dedicate the week to all 12 on the team. The seniors were very well honored with a win. The Panthers have made a tremendous turnaround compared to their 2018 season with a record of 3-7. The Panthers finished their regular season with a win over the Minnesota Morris Cougars with a final score of 34-33. The Panthers finished their regular season with an 8-2 record and earned their spot in the Victory Bowl.
The Panthers scored the first touchdown of the game with a handoff down the middle for a 52-yard run. The Cougars answered right back with a 52-yard drive punching it in with a 3-yard touchdown run. The first quarter ended with the Panthers on top 21-13. The next two quarters were quiet for the Cougars as the Panthers put up 13 more points adding on to their lead making it 34 to 13.
The fourth quarter came and the Panthers began to get comfortable with the lead that they had. The Cougars applied pressure by scoring three straight touchdowns in the fourth quarter making the game 34-33 and a chance to win the game with a 2-point conversion. The game came down to a nail-biter for the Panthers as the Cougars lined up to attempt a 2-point conversion for the lead late in the fourth quarter. The Cougars snapped the ball and threw a pass to the slot receiver for a completion but it was stopped short by linebacker Lakari Benjamin. Benjamin saved the game with a tackle at the 1 yard line with the ball just inches from the end zone. After the game, Benjamin was proud of having the game-winning tackle as he said, “Man, that was a close one, but I am happy he didn’t reach in for the two-point conversion or else we would be doing a lot of running on Monday.”
Quarterback for the Panthers George Harris threw for 228 passing yards and 1 touchdown off of 33 attempts with a passing percentage of 72.7%. Rushing leader of the game, Paul Garrett, rushed for 172 yards and 3 touchdowns with an average of 12.3 yards per carry. One of Garrett’s touchdowns was an explosive 95-yard run from the Cougars’ five yard line, putting on a show for the hometown fans. The leader in receptions and receiving yards was Kyler Henson with 10 catches for 115 yards. Henson made a lot of tough catches putting his team in a great position for the Panthers to score. The Panthers’ kicker, Rafael Soares de Castro, was a key player with 4 points off of PATs.
On the defensive side, Gavin Jordan lead the team with 6 solo and 4 assisted tackles including 4 quarterback pressures. The leader in sacks, Anthony Esquivel, had 6 solo tackles with 2 of them recorded as sacks. Esquivel also had 4 tackles with a total of 17 yards lost. Linebacker Bryson Johnson had 7 total tackles, 3 of them tackles for loss for 22 yards. Defensive back, Javion Smith, had 2 total tackles and also had the Panthers’ only interception of the game.
The Panthers are currently 8-2 and haven’t had a winning season since 2014 when they went 7-3 overall. The Panthers rewrote the history books in their 2019 season with their first non-conference win in 11 years and also beating the St. Scholastic Saints after losing to them 10 years in a row. The 2019 season isn’t over yet as they will play another game in the Victory Bowl with an opportunity to make history and earn a Victory Bowl championship ring.
The next opponent for the Panthers will be the Olivet Nazarene Tigers at Greenville on Saturday, November 23rd at 12:30 pm.
Media by Mike Buckhanna.