The Panthers put an end to Fort Knox’s 2015 season on Friday with a 67-0 domination of the visitors in the opening round of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSSA) Class 1A Gridiron Bowl Playoffs.
On Ken Russell Field in a half-filled Rhea Stadium, the Panthers grabbed momentum early and held to it throughout, taking a 13-0 lead on only five offensive plays and just four minutes into the contest.
First to score was Johnny Drumgole with a 45 yard TD run at the 7:48 mark. Less than two minutes later, MJ Jones would dash for 32 yards and a TD. Another two minutes and a seven yard pass from Jaylyn McMurry to Jones. Two minutes later and an Eagle punt blocked, recovered, and returned for a TD by TK Hampton made the score 27-0 at the 3:26 mark of the first quarter.
The second quarter would open with at 35 yard run by Jones for his third TD of the game, making the score 33-0. At 5:51 remaining in the half, Bryson Thomas rumbled 51 yards and gives the Panthers a 40-0 lead and a “running clock.” MJ Jones would add a TD (his fourth—so far) and make the halftime score 47-0.
MJ Jones would open the second half scoring with a 53 yard TD run, making the score 54-0. Mid-way through the third, freshman Edward Barber would get into the game and score on a 51 yard TD run. Sophomore Devin Quarles would score the Panthers’ last TD with 8:45 left in the game.
With the ten TDs scored, Milam Watkins, a junior and the Panthers starting kicker, would share duties with freshman Hunter McDowell and the pair would make seven of ten extra-point kicks.
MJ Jones led the Panthers in rushing with 196 yards and four TDs. Jones also caught Jaylyn McMurry’s only complete pass for a seven-yard TD. As a team, the Panthers rushed for 468 yards.
With the Panthers seeming to score at will, one might wonder where the Fort Knox defense was. One might still wonder.
But there was no doubting the Panther defense in this one. The swarming Russellville crew completely smothered the Eagle offense. Eagle back Maleeq Walters’ led his team in rushing with six yards. As a team, the Eagles rushed for a net of minus 11 yards. With nine yards gained in the passing game, the Fort Knox squad netted minus two yards offense for the game.
The Eagles took the loss and ended their season with a 3-8 overall record. In a game short on highlights for the Fort Knox squad, they were lead in rushing by sophomore Maleeq Walters’ six yards on two carries. QB Andre Yarbrough, a senior, was able to complete several short passes, but a swarming Russellville defense kept the majority of those completions to very short gains and several losses of yards.
For Russellville, the victory puts the team back in the win column after last week’s loss to Franklin-Simpson and improves the Panther record to 9-2 overall. Having clinched the home field throughout these opening rounds of the KHSSA Gridiron Bowl, Panther Nation can look forward to next week’s game versus the Campbellsville Eagles (Campbellsville defeated Fulton City 43-8 earlier Friday evening).
The second-round game will kick off on Friday October 13 at 7:30 pm at Historic Rhea Stadium.