The Russellville Panthers played their last regular season game on Friday against the South Warren Spartans. The Panthers would take their second loss of the season after the Panthers fell 21-6 to the Spartans.
The South Warren Spartans would gain possession of the ball first and would move the ball through the Panthers defense. The Panthers fought hard but the Spartans would be the first to score with five minutes to go in the first quarter.
The second quarter began and the Panthers were ready to pick up the game. With six minutes left in the second quarter, quarterback Barrett Croslin would complete a 31 yard pass to Lee McMurry to put the Panthers in position to score. Senior Demarcus Hampton would rush for five yards to score a touchdown for the Panthers. The Panthers would go for the two point conversion but would not get the points, and would lose their quarterback Croslin due to injury.
The Panthers offense struggled for the rest of the game and was not able to score anymore points. The Panther defense would battle hard but the Spartans would score once in the third quarter and another time in the fourth, leaving the Panthers behind 6-21.
The Panthers finished the game with a total of 78 offensive yards. Barrett Croslin would lead the Panthers with five carries for 18 yards. Demarcus Hampton would follow with nine carries for 12 yards. Croslin would finish the game with 31 yards receiving and Christian Naylor would finish the night with 32 yards receiving. Lee McMurry had two catches for a total of 63 yards receiving.
“We made some mistakes in the game that we haven’t been making and that was frustrating. Combine that with playing without Tacorian Darden and then Barrett going down in the second quarter and it made for a tough night. I thought our effort was there but our focus was not,” said head coach John Myers. “The kids played hard and Christian Naylor did a tremendous job in a tough situation when he came in to play quarterback. Actually, I think this is the type of game we needed going into the playoffs, as long as we can get healthy.”
The Panthers will face Kentucky County Day this Friday in the first round of the playoffs. Last year, it was KCD who knocked the Panthers out of the second round of the playoffs.
“KCD is a good football team. We must be better disciplined on the defensive side of the ball and play our fundamentals. Offensively, we have to take care of the football, find some rhythm and take some pressure off our defense. This is the time of year we have been playing for,” said coach Myers. “I know our seniors are excited for the playoffs and the opportunity we have to meet the goals we set at the beginning of the season.”