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Panthers grind out tough win in region

Jemison grinded out a 20-12 win over visiting Sumter-Central on Friday in a game that was mostly controlled by both teams’ defenses.

Shawn Poe rushed 15 times for 128 yards and a touchdown, Eric Evans rushed 19 times for 84 yards and Phillip Lenoir rushed 16 times for 57 yards and two touchdowns in the game for the Panthers (3-4 overall, 2-3 region).

Game winner: Shawn Poe rushes 23 yards for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown.

Game winner: Shawn Poe rushes 23 yards for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown.

JHS rolled up 262 rushing yards, but the outcome was in doubt until the team’s defense forced a turnover on downs with 6:13 remaining in the game.

The Panthers took the lead on the previous possession, when Poe needed only two runs from the Sumter 37-yard line to find the end zone.

Evans ran in the two-point conversion.

With the offenses for both teams ineffective to start the game, mostly because of penalties and turnovers, Jemison put together the first sustained drive of the contest late in the first quarter.

Lenoir capped off the 63-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, but the point-after try was blocked, leaving the score at 6-0 with 2:15 remaining in the opening period.

Though Sumter-Central (1-4, 1-4) had managed only a handful of first downs with time winding down in the first half, the Jaguars showed their ability to strike quickly, as a 55-yard pass to Richard Jones tied the score at 6-all after the extra point was blocked.

Jemison Homecoming: Jemison’s Homecoming court includes Kendal Lambert, sophomore; Queen Mikala Thornton, senior; Autumn Abernathy, junior; Hannah Dutton, freshman; and Shilah Conn, eighth grade (not pictured).

Jemison Homecoming: Jemison’s Homecoming court includes Kendal Lambert, sophomore; Queen Mikala Thornton, senior; Autumn Abernathy, junior; Hannah Dutton, freshman; and Shilah Conn, eighth grade (not pictured).

Jemison answered right back with a 42-yard drive. Lenoir found the end zone again, this time from seven yards out on a fourth-and-two play.

A two-point conversion try failed.

The Panthers didn’t have time to feel good about their lead, though, as Sumter’s Jadarius Wilson ran back the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, and the score was tied at 12-all at halftime.

The teams combined for just four first downs in the second half until Poe’s late-game heroics.

Lenoir completed seven-of-17 passes for 79 yards, and P.J. Blue caught two passes for 32 yards.

Blue also paced the JHS defense with 7.5 tackles, while Shunderrius Strong recorded a sack and Jonathan McCary intercepted a Sumter pass.