Sloppy survival: Panthers play poorly but win on homecoming

Published 12:16 am Saturday, September 19, 2009

Jemison’s 27-18 win over Livingston on Friday was about as pretty as the muddy field the game was played on after a half of constant rain at Panther Stadium.

The surprisingly tough Cougars (1-3 overall, 1-2 Class 4A, Region 3), who had lost their last two games by a combined score of 101-6, actually outgained Jemison, 140 yards to 67 unofficially, in the second half after the Panthers (2-2, 2-1) built a 21-6 lead at intermission.

The Livingston defense too frequently busted their way into the Jemison backfield, blowing up running plays that had gone for positive yardage in the first half.

Javae Swindle, the county’s leading rusher with more than 150 yards a game, was held to minus-13 yards rushing in the second half and 53 yards rushing overall.

Livingston quarterback Roderick Harris scrambled left then back right with 5:40 left in the game then found Demetruis Brown, who caught three passes for 68 yards on the drive, in the right front corner of the end zone. The visitors then failed to convert their third 2-point try of the game and trailed by the final score.

An onside kick was recovered by Jemison, who promptly marched backward 28 yards before punting.

Livingston took over on the Jemison 47-yard line, but Darius Smith and Jacob Chapman pressured Harris out of the pocket, hit him as he attempted to throw the ball and fell on the loose ball to get the hosts the ball back.

With 3:16 remaining, the Panthers put together their best drive of the half, picking up two first downs on Isa Bentley runs and running out the clock because Livingston had no timeouts remaining.

Bentley was Jemison’s leading rusher with 86 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries.

Jemison quarterback Scott Clements completed his first six passes of the game and finished 7-of-8 for 84 yards and one score, which came on an 11-yard pass to Patrick Sims.

Swindle ran back the opening kickoff 86 yards for Jemison’s first score.