Panthers lose regular season finale, 24-21
Jonathan Morehead scored on a 3-yard TD run with 4:27 to go in the third quarter Friday and gave Northeast Guilford a three-point lead it would not relinquish.
The Rams (7-3, 3-2 Mid-Piedmont 3-A) added an insurance touchdown in the fourth and held on for a 24-21 victory over Ledford at Panther Stadium.
Ledford (5-6, 2-3 MPC) got on the board first after denying the Rams on their opening possession, as Austin DeBerry recovered a Northeast fumble at the Panther 20 yard line. Dalton Harris then accounted for 50 yards on Ledford’s ensuing drive, including a 45-yard dash that took the ball to the Northeast 2, setting up his TD run on the next play.
A whopping 125 first-quarter yards for Northeast were nullified by its initial turnover and a goal line stand on the second drive. Quarterback Tyronne Hamer’s 21-yard run at the end of the first quarter got the Rams inside the red zone, but they were unable to capitalize.
Northeast’s defensive unit put the team’s first points on the board when Harris was stopped in the end zone for a safety. This followed the Rams’ second failed red zone drive, which ended when they could not convert after having the ball 1st-and-goal from the 8.
The free kick gave Northeast great field position, which the Rams turned into eight points on a 44-yard run by Kalin McNeil with 9:41 remaining until halftime. A successful two-point attempt was converted on a run by Hamer to give his squad a brief 10-7 lead.
Three minutes later, a 28-yard pass from Duke Boger to Austin Humphries put the Panthers back on top going into the half, 14-10. Ledford’s bend-but-don’t break defense did allow 200 first-half yards, but only 10 points because of its opportunistic nature, forcing a turnover and two 4th-down stops.
After halftime, the Rams controlled the ball and the clock. Two extended scoring drives occupied the third quarter and Dajuan Horne added a 4-yard run to pay dirt six seconds into the fourth quarter to put Northeast up 10.
The Panthers allowed 370 total yards and 15 first downs, but made enough clutch plays to give the offense a chance to win the game at the end.
Boger’s 3-yard touchdown toss to Brady Johnson midway through the fourth drew Ledford to within three with 5:56 remaining. After the Rams’ three-and-out gave the Panthers the ball with less than four minutes to play, Boger was intercepted on the final drive with 1:12 to go to seal the Panthers’ fate.