Battle of the Panthers sees Elmore County victorious

Published 10:30 am Saturday, October 29, 2022

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

Jemison High School fell 60-12 to Elmore County High School in the battle of the Panthers, and the regular season finale for both schools on Oct. 28.

A fast paced first quarter saw 34 points scored between the two teams. Elmore County struck first on a 60-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Payton Stephenson to Jabari Murphy on its first offensive play of the game. The lead was doubled less than two minutes later with a 50-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Elmore County made it two touchdown passes in two offensive plays with a 58-yard completion from Stephenson to stretch the lead to 21-0 under four minutes into the game.

Jemison responded with quarterback Jaxon Padlo finding Coden Cummings for a 59-yard touchdown strike, but the point after was no good.

“They got up on us pretty quick due to some mistakes of our own,” Jemison coach John Therrell said. “We made some plays on the perimeter and through the passing game.”

Elmore County posted the final score of the first quarter with a 22-yard run by C.J. Wilkes to make it 28-6 after the opening frame.

Jemison’s Efrain Villeda rumbled in for a 30-yard touchdown run just after the second quarter began to cut the Elmore County advantage to 28-12.

However, Elmore County scored the first half’s last 17 points on two touchdowns and a 37-yard field goal to bring the halftime tally to 45-12.

“We did not capitalize when we needed to capitalize,” Therrell said. “We have got to make sure we come out with intensity, especially when we are at home, and we did not match with what we needed to match.”

Stephenson and Murphy did exactly the same thing on the first Elmore County offensive play of the second half connecting for a 65-yard touchdown to make it 51-12.

The visiting Panthers added a seven-yard touchdown pass and a safety in the fourth quarter to bring the game to its final score.

The last home regular season game meant senior night for Jemison, and Therrell shared a few moments with all the seniors following the game.

“They have been great for me … and helping the progress we have made,” Therrell said. “They were instrumental in that, and I am extremely appreciative of them of what they have done for Jemison. There is a lot of love in that group, and I am glad I got to be with each and every one of them.”

Jemison finishes the 2022 season with a 2-8 record, and improves its record from last season.