Panters fall to Kosciusko, face Hazlehurst in playoffs first roundBy ALLEN ARDREY AND BILLY FREEMAN,
The Morton Panthers went head-to-head against the Kosciusko Whippets last Thursday night and came out on the losing end of the contest. The Whippets rushed for an impressive 313 yards on 41 carries. With a sack, an interception, two passes defended, 68 total tackles, and four pancake blocks, there is little wonder why the Whippets accrued another win. Morton was crushed by Kosciusko 21 to 0 in a decisive win by the Whippets.
The first quarter saw only one touchdown scored by a rushing play by the Whippets. They even tagged on the extra point kick to start the game with a 7 to nothing lead against the Panthers. When asked what went right for the Panthers, Coach Ty Weems said, “Not a whole lot offensively. Our defense played really well, with the exception of a couple big plays. They kept us in the game and gave us a chance.” That statement from Coach Weems rang true in the next quarter.
The second quarter demonstrated the capabilities of Morton’s defense in that they kept Kosciusko from scoring any points. However, the Panthers struggled to gain momentum any time in the first half (or second half) of the game. “Our offense was too inconsistent with penalties and turnovers. I believe we were in the red zone five times and came away without any points. It’s tough to beat a good team with those mistakes.”
Kosciusko scored twice in the third quarter, both of which were rushing touchdowns with good extra point kicks. When asked what challenges the Panthers faced against the Whippets, Coach Weems said, “They were really big up front defensively and we struggled to maintain blocks. And I give credit their kids — they played extremely hard. Offensively, they make you remain disciplined and we did that for the most part, but we had a couple mistakes and they made us pay.” The third quarter showed the ability of the Whippets to capitalize on errors.
Finally, the fourth quarter mirrored the second, in that both teams were scoreless. Though the Panthers failed to score any points, they still put up a good game defensively to keep the Whippets to only 21 points. Both teams are ranked 20 in their divisions, Morton a 3A and Kosciusko a 4A.
Morton (5-6) will have a first-round playoff game against the Hazlehurst Indians (8-2) this Friday the 3rd of November. The Panthers (ranked 20 in 3A) will have to hone their offense in order to make a stand again the Indians (ranked 8 in 3A) and progress into round two of the 2017 MHSAA Football Championships.
Morton will play the winner of the contest between Raleigh and West Marion if they make it to round two.