Panthers excel on both sides of ball in abbreviated win
Jackson County played two lights-out quarters of football Friday, which turned out to be enough.
The Panthers (1-0) claimed an abbreviated 14-8 victory at home over Class AAA Johnson-Gainesville after the game was called after halftime following a two-hour lightning delay.
Down 8-7, Austin McDonald sent Jackson County into the locker room with a 14-8 lead with a four-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the first half.
McDonald had a huge night, running for 97 yards on 13 carries and the one touchdown. That score turned out to be the game-winner after the teams didn’t return for the second half.
All this is familiar territory for the Panthers.
Panther coach Billy Kirk noted that he was plenty upset in 2007 when Jackson County lost a game in similar fashion to Banks County, falling 14-7 when the game was called at halftime.
Three years later, the coach said he certainly understands how Johnson feels but also understands why the state enforces these rules regarding lightning.
“The GHSA has these rules in place, and they’re to protect kids,” Kirk said.
Jackson County was on pace to put up some big-time numbers.
Fixing the offense problems that hindered them in their scrimmage against Athens Christian, the Panthers totaled 221 yards in the first half.
Kirk praised the work of his offensive front.
“They were unreal,” he said. “I could have run through those holes.”
Kyle Daniel (13-of-25, 92 yards) and Davion Ledford accounted for Jackson County’s other score early in the ball game.
Daniel, making his debut at quarterback, connected with Ledford for a 14-yard scoring strike with four minutes left in the first quarter to put Jackson County up 7-0.
Daniel, who finished with over 100 yards of total offense, was named the Panthers’ starter at the beginning of the week after beating out junior Jalen Banks.
“Kyle Daniel did a great job managing the offense,” Kirk said.
Ben Brissey led the Panthers in receiving with four catches for 41 yards.
Kirk also praised his defense, which surrendered no points.
Johnson got its only score with an 81-yard kickoff return following the Panthers first touchdown.
Kirk said the score “should have been 14-0.”
RUSHING – McDonald 13-97-1 TD, Scott 4-9, Daniel 6-23, PASSING — Daniel 13-25, 92 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT RECEIVING — McDonald 2-18; Ledford 1-14-1 TD; Stephens 3-2; Lewis 1-4; Brissey 4-41; Scott 1-10; Harbin 1-3
REGION SCORES 8A-AA
Fannin Co. 17, Gilmer Co. 14
Banks Co. 40, Social Circle 14
Union Co. 40, Towns Co. 7
West Hall 18, East Hall 6
Jefferson 17, Commerce 14
Elbert Co. 20, Stephens Co. 14 Jackson Co. 14, Johnson (Gainesville) 8 North Oconee 42, Arabia Mountain 7
Hart Co. 14, Franklin Co. 14
Athens Christian 28, Oglethorpe Co. 19
White Co. 21, East Jackson 14
What's the matter mc? Did you get your feelings hurt? We would've loved to have seen the game played out the full 4 quarters, not JCCHS's fault, it's not like we had any control over the weather, or GHSA's decision, so unless you can show where JCCHS is at fault, YOU SHOULD SAVE YOUR COMMENTS FOR SOMETHING ELSE!
The Panthers played one heck of a game. The score should have been 14-0 instead of 14-8. The panther defense shut down Johnsons offence perfectly. The knights were in the red zone three times and could not score. They got lucky with the TD they got. The Panthers were just getting warmed up. Go Panthers!