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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: ’Ponax survives for another win



Sometimes, Friday nights are just about surviving.

That’s what Massaponax did last night. The Panthers overcame a lethargic three quarters and pulled away from Franklin County for a 33–15 win.

Pretty? It wasn’t, Panthers senior Steve Sobczak said. But it was a win, and Massaponax is 5–0.

“As long as you get that

‘W,’” Sobczak said. “Whether it’s ugly or pretty, you just have to get it.”

The Panthers were coming off a big victory against Colonial Forge, and Massaponax coach Eric Ludden was afraid of a letdown.

What he got instead was three quarters of unremarkable offense, capped by a fourth quarter of the Panthers looking more like an unbeaten team steaming toward the postseason.

“Well, we found a couple of plays that we liked,” Ludden said, “and it started working for us.”

A pair of Franklin County fumbles led to first-half touchdowns for Massaponax.

The first Eagles turnover came at their own 10, and Aubrey Wilson scored from

3 yards out two plays later.

The second led to a 45-yard drive by the Panthers, which Sobczak capped with a 1-yard plunge for a 14–7 lead at the half.

Two Massaponax third-quarter drives went nowhere.

But on their first possession of the last period, Darren Gary gave the Panthers a spark.

He swept around left end on a third-and-12 option play, catching the pitch and using his blockers well for a 75-yard scoring run.

“A.J. Forbes and Tony Barnett opened that hole perfectly, and I just happened to capitalize,” Gary said.

Wilson scored on a 34-yard run on the Panthers’ next possession, and backup quarterback Joey Benden had a 15-yard scoring run to help Massaponax pull away in a four-minute stretch.

The Panthers host unbeaten Riverbend next Friday.


Justin Rice: 540/368-5045