The 19-seeded Brusly Panthers defeated the 14-seeded Jewel M. Sumner Cowboys 14-6 in the first round of playoffs Friday night in Kentwood.
Panther Head Coach Erik Willis called it “one of the best games” since he’s been at Brusly.
In the first quarter, both defenses fought hard to keep their opponent out of the end zone, leaving the scoreboard blank.
In the last 30 seconds of the quarter, Blake Manola’s pass to Kwanston Adkins brought the Panthers to their opponent’s 28-yard line. Another pass to Adkins gained 15 more yards for Brusly, making it possible for Darien Cobbs to score a 5-yard touchdown at the start of the second quarter. An additional point for Manola’s field goal gave the Panthers the 7-0 lead over the Cowboys.
During Sumner’s next drive, they were unable to push forward as Montel Williams and Kwanston Adkins combined forces to sack Sumner’s quarterback, Rhett Travis, making it impossible for the Cowboys to gain a first down.
With four minutes remaining in the first half and Sumner at Brusly’s 22 yard line, a pass toward the end zone was intercepted by Brusly’s Deven Hammond at the 2-yard line and returned back to the 22.
“It was a very good play,” said Willis. “The whole defense played really well.”
At the opening of the second half, Sumner scored a 23-yard rushing touchdown. When the Cowboys attempted the field goal, Caleb Henderson blocked it, preventing Sumner from tying the score. Panthers 7, Cowboys 6.
“I knew we had a chance to block the extra point,” said Willis. “We worked on it all week. I knew we could hold them there, but I didn’t know about the rest of the game.”
Despite Sumner intercepting two of Manola’s passes and recovering a Brusly fumble, they were unable to score again; however, the Panthers weren’t finished yet.
Cobbs and the Panthers marched, again, toward the end zone. Cobbs began the drive with rushes for 15 and seven yards, bringing Brusly to the Cowboys’ 30.
Manola rushed for another 10 yards. On a third down, with just four yards to go, Manola connected with Cobbs on a 14 yard pass for the Panthers second touchdown with 9:21 remaining in the game. Manola kicked the extra point for Brusly.
“After we scored the second time, I knew it would be difficult for them to score on our defense,” commented Willis.
In the final seconds of the game, with Sumner in possession of the ball and desperately attempting to move the ball, Josh Allen sacked Cowboy quarterback Rhett Travis for a loss of yards. Allen ended the game with a final tackle, securing the Panthers’ 14-6 victory over the Cowboys.
“We fought hard in the third and fourth quarters,” Willis recounted. “The attention level in the second half, I haven’t seen that since I’ve been at the school.”