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Four First Quarter Fumbles too much for South Point to Overcome

By: Anthony Perkins


Lenoir – The Hibriten Panthers hosted the South Point Red Raiders on Friday night for round two of the playoffs and escaped with a 28-20 win.


The game started off with the Red Raiders being their own worst enemy when all four of their first quarter possesions ended with fumbles. The first two Red Raider turnovers were immediately turned into points when Aaron Logan scooped up the first fumble on the third play from scrimmage and returned it 33-yards for a quick 7-0 Panther lead.  After the ensuing kickoff and on second down the Red Raiders laid the ball on the ground again and Kevon Wilson picked it up and ran it back for a 30-yard fumble return to push the lead to 14-0.


South Point’s next possession was going well until they got to the Hibriten four-yard line and disaster struck again when another fumble occurred on a fullback dive play, the ball tumbled into the endzone and the Panthers were there again to fall on the loose ball and end the Red Raider threat.  An “unsportsman conduct” penalty gave the ball to the Panthers at the Hibriten 35 and six plays later they were in the end-zone again on a 44-yard run by Mckinley Witherspoon to give the Panthers a 21-0 lead. 

The Red Raiders turned the ball over again on the ensuing kick off, still in the first quarter, near midfield and less than a minute into the second quarter the Panthers took advantage again when Witherspoon notched his second touchdown on a six-yard run and a 28-0 Hibriten lead.

Most any other team would have given up at that point but quitting is not in the Red Raiders vocabulary.  After South Point finally decided to hang onto the football, they put on two scoring drives before the half to cut the lead in half at 28-14.  Quarterback Keaton Hale scored on the following possession on a 46-yard run with 9:43 left in the half and fullback Naseem Jones scored on a one-yard run with less than two minutes before the half and suddenly the rout by Hibriten was a thing of the past and it was game on again for the Red Raiders.  South Point had one more opportunity to score but it ended with an interception in the end-zone.

In the third quarter both teams advanced the ball to their opponents 25-yard line before South Point was stopped on downs and Hibriten committed their only mistake of the game with a lost fumble.

South Point controlled most of the fourth quarter but could only manage to get into the end-zone one time and with just over five minutes left in the contest. Jones posted his second score on a six-yard run but it was too little too late.  South Point’s defense forced a three and out after the Jones touchdown to keep the pressure on the Panthers but the drive died short of mid-field and amid a freezing rain the Panthers ran out the clock in the victory formation as quarterback Jaylen Scott took a knee.

Hibriten’s potent offense totaled only two touchdowns and 211 rushing yards on 46 carries, and zero yards passing and they tallied 10 first downs.  South Point’s offense accumulated 202 yards rushing and quarterback Keaton Hale went 6-7-1 in the passing attack for an additional 104 yards and a total offensive effort of 306 yards. Outstanding individual offensive efforts were turned in by Hibriten’s Mckinley Witherspoon (126 yards, 22 carries) and Marqwone Jones (65 yards, 16 carries).  Naseem Jones (82 yards) and Keaton Hale (90 yards) were top performers for South Point’s rushing attack; in their passing attack Jamani Leeper had one reception for 44 yards, Jammari Lewis had one reception for 43 yards and Ray Grier had three catches for 20 yards.  South Point moved the chains twelve times.


South Point ended their season with the loss and next week Hibriten will host the Bandys Trojans who defeated West Stokes.


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