Panthers playoff run ends at Coosa Christian

Hackleburg quarterback Blaise Vickery (#7) keeps and tries to get around the defense.

GADSDEN — The Hackleburg Panthers traveled across the state to Gadsden to play the Coosa Christian Conquerors on Friday night, Nov. 24, in the third round of the AHSAA 1A state playoffs.
Before the game began, the Conquerors won the coin toss and chose to receive the opening kickoff.
After returning the kickoff to their own 44-yard line, the Conquerors made several big plays to close the distance to the goal line and scored a touchdown with 9:45 remaining in the first quarter.
Down 7-0, the Panthers started on their own 25 after a touchback. Blaise Vickery and Jaquan Reeder were able to gain several yards, but the Panthers eventually found themselves at fourth and long and chose to punt.
The Conquerors once again made quick progress and were leading 13-0 with 5:52 left in the first quarter.
The Panthers saw their next possession end with another punt, but so did the Conquerors’ next drive.
The Panthers got the ball back as the second quarter began but were held to fourth down and chose to punt once more.
The Conquerors started first and 10 on the Panthers’ 31-yard line. Coosa Christian’s Kanon Wilson broke through on a running play and scored with 11:21 to go before halftime. With the extra point, the Conquerors were now leading 20-0.
The Panthers’ next drive was cut short with another punt on fourth down, but Cameron Ingram intercepted a pass to give the Panthers another shot at scoring.
Unfortunately, the Panthers would end up turning the ball over on downs.
Both teams saw a couple more possessions that ended with turnovers. Finally, with just under a minute left in the half, Coosa Christian scored again and added two more points after the touchdown to go into the locker room with a 28-0 lead over the Panthers.
Coosa Christian kicked off to open the second half, and the Panthers began first and 10 on the Conquerors’ 48-yard line. Hackleburg’s Edge Weeks and Daughtry Gober picked up a few rushing yards, and Seth Ables made a catch for the first down.
Now on the 28-yard line, Vickery threw a pass to Ingram on second down to score the Panthers’ first touchdown on the night. Carson Swinney’s extra point kick was good, putting the score at 28-7 with 9:42 left in the third quarter.
After the kickoff, the Conquerors were making progress again, when Ross Hudson intercepted a pass. On first and 10, the Conquerors recovered a fumble and ran it back for a touchdown to widen their lead to 35-7 with 7:25 left in the third quarter.
The Panthers were stopped three times by the Conquerors’ defense and punted on fourth down. The Conquerors scored another quick touchdown to bring their lead up to 42-7 with 5:05 in the third quarter.


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