With their backs against the wall and time running out, the Panthers of Yazoo County came back to overcome Murrah High School 12-6.
The Mustangs scored in the second quarter when a Yazoo County fumble was picked up and carried 63 yards for a touchdown. After the PAT was blocked, the Mustangs led 6-0, a score that would remain at the half.
The third quarter came and went, but the Panthers found themselves unable to break out of their slump.
In the fourth quarter, Kory Gainwell, brother of last year’s All-State selection Kenneth Gainwell, found enough space to tie the game up with a touchdown run.
The Panthers showed the resiliency that served them so well a year ago late in the fourth quarter. With a play-action pass called, Kobe Fisher rolled out, found some space, and ran the ball into the end zone to give Yazoo County a 12-6 lead with 1:30 remaining in the game.
The lead was one that the Panthers would not lose.
According to Yazoo County head football coach Robert Dobbs, getting the first win was important, and the defense was as strong as he hoped they would be.
“It feels good to get that first win under our belt,” Dobbs said. “We started slow but finished well. We were trying to do too much early on in the game. We need everyone to do their job. Our defense kept us in this game. I knew coming into it the season that they would have to be strong early in the season. I’m proud of the effort they gave.”
As good as the defense was, the offense didn’t quite match their level.
Dobbs believes that the battle was lost mentally, at least in the early portion of the contest.
“We struggled offensively against Murrah,” Dobbs said. “We had a lot of mental errors. We didn’t pay attention to details. They loaded up the box, and we struggled to find the running lanes.”
Slowing things down to a halt helped the Panthers regain their confidence.
Simplification bred success.
“We changed things up at half time,” Dobbs said. “We simplified our offense to the point where they could get everything we were trying to do. Our kids were way too anxious.”
Kory Gainwell led the Panthers offensively, rushing the ball 19 times for 103 yards and a touchdown with two fumbles lost.
Kobe Fisher rushed the ball six times for six yards with one touchdown and a fumble lost.
Jamarion Stewart ran the ball 13 times for 65 yards.
Kenderian Dixon led the Panthers with seven total tackles, one of which was for loss.
Christian Scarcella had a big game, racking up three total tackles, two of which were for loss, and two sacks.
Tredarius Carr had five total tackles, two of which were for loss, and five quarterback hurries.
Next up for Yazoo County is a battle against Germantown.
The Mavericks are 0-1 after dropping their opening contest 42-7 to Northwest Rankin.
Dobbs expects another battle between the defenses for supremacy against Germantown.
“I expect another defensive battle against Germantown,” Dobbs said. “The game will come down to execution and turnovers. Whoever executes their offense the best and has the least about of turnovers will be likely be the winner. They’re a well-coached team. We have to come out and execute.”
The game at Germantown is set for 7 p.m.