Tigers make it 5 of 6

Published 10:45 pm Thursday, August 27, 2009

There were no late-game heroics for Jemison this time.

The Panthers last season broke a four-game losing streak to rival Chilton County High with a touchdown pass with less than one minute to play. The Panthers Thursday night took possession of the football on their own 36-yard line facing a 19-12 deficit with 2:22 left in the game.

The first play resulted in an interception by CCHS junior defensive back Anthony Atchison, and the visitors were able to run out the clock in both teams’ season opener, played mostly in a driving rain at Panther Stadium.

“I read the quarterback and broke on the ball,” Atchison said matter-of-factly about the game’s decisive play—but then broke a smile. “It felt great.”

After the Tigers lost five games last season when either tied or leading in the fourth quarter, second-year coach Brian Carter spent much of the offseason emphasizing the importance of being able to win close games.

“That’s what we’ve been talking about—finishing—and we finished one tonight,” Carter said.

CCHS looked to be in control when they took a 19-6 lead with 8:33 left in the game on an 8-yard run by junior running back J.J. Agee, but Jemison got back within a touchdown 2-and-a-half minutes later on a Javae Swindle 7-yard run around left end.

Swindle, a sophomore running back, also scored on a 4th-and-goal from the CCHS 1-yard line with 2:14 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Swindle’s run was sandwiched between two CCHS scores: Senior quarterback Taylor Hughes hit junior receiver Montel Wilkes on a screen play that Wilkes turned into a 31-yard touchdown five minutes into the game, and Hughes scored from 4 yards out on a keeper with 54 seconds left in the first half.

Only one point-after attempt was converted—by senior Noe Chavez on the night’s first try—which could probably be attributed to the sloppy field conditions. The rain eased late in the third quarter but never stopped.