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Panthers rally past Mavericks in final canto

  • Anderson County’s Austin Elliott hauls in a pass for a touchdown Friday night. - Ricky Williams

  • T. J. Holmes outruns Powell’s Gage Foster (left), Tyler Kirkess (center-right), and Cannon Lustby (far right) - Ricky Williams

What a game. Two powerhouse schools came together on Friday, Aug. 30 when Anderson County traveled to Powell High School. The final score was 48-36.

Anderson County pulled ahead early in the game with a run by TJ Holmes to put them up 7-0 at the end of the first quarter, and then increasing that by 13-0 only three seconds into the second quarter (although AC’s kicker, Daniel Bethel, missed the extra point kick).

Powell came online during the second quarter, though, scoring two touchdowns only four minutes apart. They missed both extra point attempts, though, leaving them trailing the Mavericks by one.

AC again distanced themselves from Powell with two successive touchdowns, one from a 21-yard pass by Stone Hatmaker to Brandon Seldner with 30 seconds left in the half, and the second from a 40-yard pass by the same to Austin Elliott (both extra-point kicks were good.) At the beginning of the third, it looked like a one-sided game, with Anderson County leading 27-12.

Unfortunately for Anderson County, things began to fall apart late in the third. Although Daniel Bethel scored a 39-yard field goal, Powell closed the lead with a touchdown and a two-point conversion, and, five seconds into the fourth, scored again, putting them in the lead for the first time in the entire game. Anderson County began to flag as it had more and more trouble stopping Powell’s running game. In the fourth quarter alone, Powell scored 20 points. Anderson County scored six – a run by TJ Holmes with 21-seconds left on the clock, followed by a failed kick.

There was a marked difference in the fourth quarter for morale. Player injuries brought out plenty of Anderson County players, driving morale low, and that, followed by some – ahem – “questionable” calls by officials drove it into the dirt.

Anderson County gave up 110 yards for 12 penalties, compared to Powell’s 88 yards for 9. From a pure statistical standpoint, that doesn’t look horribly unbalanced – but the psychological effect of many of those being called in rapid succession in the third and fourth quarter undoubtedly had an impact on the players.

Anderson County’s inability to stop Powell’s run was undoubtedly the biggest factor in their loss and highlighted the distinctly different play style of the two teams.

Powell rushed for 389 yards, compared to Anderson County’s 104 (85 yards of which came from a single player, TJ Holmes). Powell’s run-based play style really showed through in the later half as well because of how exhausted the Maverick’s defense was. By the end of the game, Powell possessed the ball for 12 minutes longer than Anderson County, which doesn’t seem incredibly long until one factors that in to a 48-minute game and the how much the extended play would cause players to slow.

Meanwhile, Anderson County passed exactly 100 more yards than Powell (266-166). Unfortunately for Anderson County, Powell capitalized on their pass-heavy play style by intercepting the ball twice.

Anderson County hosts Hixon this Friday, Sept. 6.