As the old cliche goes, a team has to play a full four quarters to win the game.
Yazoo County did not do that on Friday night, and it caused them to fall 23-20 to Forest Hill.
The loss brought Yazoo County’s overall record to 3-2 heading into conference play.
In the early portion of the game, it was all Yazoo County.
Panthers’ quarterback Kenneth Gainwell made his presence known with a touchdown run in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead.
Forest Hill responded quickly with a touchdown of their own to tie things up at 7-7.
In the second quarter, the Panthers had their way with Forest Hill offensively.
Kenneth Gainwell, Cherokee Edwards and Devarrio Sanders gashed them on the ground.
Gainwell and Keilos Swinney found the end zone in the second quarter to extend the Panthers’ lead.
At the half, Yazoo County led 20-7.
Yazoo County head football coach Robert Dobbs was happy with what he saw from his team early on in the game.
“In the first half, we came out with passion,” Dobbs said. “We played hard. We did the necessary things to win a game. We showed what we were capable of doing.”
The lead, however, would not prove to be safe.
Forest Hill’s offense was alive and well in the third quarter.
They took small chunk of yardage after small chunk of yardage until reaching the end zone with 6:04 remaining in the third, cutting their deficit to 20-14.
Yazoo County’s offense was not quite at the level it had previously been.
They sputtered trying to get the ball away from their own end zone, but they were unsuccessful. Their drive ended in a safety, making it a 20-16 game with 3:45 remaining in the third.
The game turned into a slog with neither team able to get any real traction.
With mere minutes remaining, Forest Hill’s offense breathed life once more.
They drove the ball down the field to the 1-yard line, and from there, they scored, taking a 23-20 lead with 0:45 remaining.
Yazoo County completed some quick passes and got to the opposing 45-yard line.
With 0:05 left, Kenneth Gainwell heaved up one final pass, but it fell incomplete, ending the game at 23-20.
Dobbs was not nearly as thrilled with the second half, but he thinks it can be a teaching moment for his team.
“I feel like our kids eased up a little bit in the second half,” Dobbs said. “We got too relaxed. You have to play four quarters to win, or this will be the result every time. This will be a teaching moment for us.”
Kenneth Gainwell had a huge game, rushing for 102 yards and two touchdowns on the ground and passing for 102 yards in the air.
Keilos Swinney also scored a touchdown in the loss.
Curtis Bullock racked up 13 total tackles (3.0 for loss).
Yazoo County will attempt to bounce back on Friday when they open up conference play with a road trip to Amanda Elzy.
Amanda Elzy is 1-3-1 after their most recent 38-14 loss to Greenwood.
Dobbs wants to see a big game out of his secondary because he expects the ball to be flying on Friday night.
“I expect Amanda Elzy to throw the ball quite a bit,” Dobbs said. “They like to throw it around more than they used to, so that’s kind of what we expect.”
Kickoff between Yazoo County and Amanda Elzy is set for 7 p.m.