JEFFERSON — The theme for the night in Jackson County’s 13-3 win over Prince Avenue Christian was 3-0.
For the first time in 28 years the Panthers have gone through the first three weeks of the season unbeaten. That fact wasn’t lost on the fans in attendance or the players on the field who were all chanting “3-0” as the clock wound down.
“Our kids deserve this opportunity, they have worked hard and bought in. Our community bought in, and this whole entire community deserves this. We may not win another ballgame but I’m proud for our kids and our community, it’s a big deal,” said Jackson County head coach Billy Kirk.
The Panthers looked like anything but a 3-0 team for much of the opening half, as a bevy of miscues and stalled drives kept the game scoreless.
The Panther defense was twice put on a tough situation with their backs to their goal line thanks to special teams mistakes.
But the mark of a good football team is one that can overcome miscues and still win.
“Our kids had to come out and fight, and unfortunately we hurt ourselves but I would like to think we can make a couple mistakes and still have an opportunity to win the game,” Kirk said.
After holding the Wolverines to just three points on a drive that started inside the Panther 20 Jackson County finally played like a 3-0 team with confidence.
Starting at their own 15 with 2½ minutes to go in the half, the Panther offense finally got rolling.
Quarterback Alex Crawford found Rob Williams for 26 yards to get the ball to midfield. Two plays later Crawford went to the air again and found Zack Sticher inside the 5-yard line with just under a minute to go.
The Panthers couldn’t get the ball in on first or second down, but on third down Crawford found Williams again for a short pass. Williams broke a couple tackles and stumbled into the end zone with five seconds left before the half for a 7-3 lead they would not relinquish.
The Panthers put the game away on the first drive of the second half, marching 62 yards on 11 plays. Crawford capped the drive with an athletic scramble for a 15-yard touchdown and the final 13-3 margin.
Offensively the Panthers controlled the ball on the ground and through the air. Pesaresi lead a 234 yard rushing attack with 151 of his own, while Crawford was an economical 15-26 for 194 yards and a touchdown.
On the defensive side of things the Panthers were stifling allowing just 75 yards of rushing, and a mere two completions for 28 yards, and no drives that lasted longer than nine plays.
The Panthers now focus on region play which opens up next week when they travel to Morgan County.