Friday night’s matchup was moved to Thursday in anticipation of hurricane Matthew’s arrival on Friday. This was the first conference game for both teams (Tar Roanoke 1A). The Granville central Panthers came into the game with a record of 1-5 overall and the Weldon Chargers sported a 0-5 overall record. This is opening day for a new season, said one of the Panthers coaches.
The Granville Central Panthers won the coin toss and opted to defer to the second half. Cantaffa’s opening kickoff was a “pooch” kick that traveled about 18-yards and was nearly recovered by the Panthers. The Weldon Chargers first possession ended up in a punt back to the Panthers. The two teams went 3 and out on their next two possessions till Panther’s Chris Rhone (#50) collected a Charger’s fumble and scampered nearly 30 yards for the defensive score. Cantaffa’s PAT was blocked but the ensuing kickoff sailed through the end zone for the first of what would end up being 4 kickoffs for touchback.
As the first quarter was coming to a close, Zach Cantaffa (#99) had a 47-yard punt return for TD giving the Panthers a 13-0 lead (after the made PAT).
The Panthers junior quarterback, Ethan Goss (#14), threw an interception giving the Chargers possession on the Central 25-yard line. In fairness to Goss, this was only his second game as starting QB, playing all others as the team’s primary TE and one of the team’s defensive ends. Goss earned the job after starting QB, Jaylen Long (#2) suffered a season ending ACL injury in Week 5. Fortunately for the Panthers, senior defensive back, Brad Speed (#33) ended the half with an INT of Weldon quarterback, Kevin Arrington.
The third quarter opened with a series of Panthers mistakes culminating in a lost fumble that led to a Chargers TD score and subsequent 2-point conversion. The Panthers quickly regained composure after a long punt by #99 Zach Cantaffa was mishandled by the Chargers on their own 9-yard line and two plays later Goss had a short TD run followed by a Malcom West (#11) 2-poiunt conversion, which made the score 21-8.
West, who had 124 yards rushing, ran in for a TD score with about 9 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. Cantaffa’s missed PAT nearly shook the goal post apart as the ball slammed into the left upright. Perhaps in atonement for the missed PAT, Cantaffa caught the Goss pass for a 19-yard TD reception, making the score 33-8 with less than 5 minutes remaining in the contest. Cantaffa’s made PAT put the score to 34-8, which ended being the final score.
Granville Central will travel to Southeast Halifax next Friday, October 14th for another conference matchup against the SE Halifax Trojans. The Trojan’s lost Thursdays game versus Louisburg, 58-20.
Weldon will travel to Northwest Halifax to take on the NW Halifax Vikings. The Vikings are currently winless in all competition.