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Jemison tried something different this year.
Usually a motivational tactic in the offseason, Panthers coach Brad Abbott said there was no mention beforehand of the team’s pending game against rival Chilton County.
It worked. Jemison broke its four-year losing streak to the Tigers (0-1) with a 28-21 win Thursday night.
Eric Argo and running back Merrell Morrow – and the rest of the Jemison seniors – avoided ending their careers without a win over their rivals when they connected on the 33-yard game-winning play with 59 seconds remaining in the game.
Pressure forced Argo out of the pocket, and he rolled left as Morrow broke off his designed slant route and found space in the middle of the field. Argo dumped it off, and Morrow did the rest.
“I didn’t know he was gonna take it to the house,” Argo said.
Halfway through the second quarter, the Panthers (1-0) turned the ball over twice and the Tigers turned a 20-6 deficit into a 21-20 lead in only 1:30. Such a sequence would have deflated Jemison in the past, Abbott said.
“We just kept plugging,” he said. “We just kept sticking around. [The fans] got their money’s worth tonight.”