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Prep Football: Panthers get up and running
LATNEY, TRICE GET BIG YARDS ON THE GROUND TO LEAD WAY FOR PANTHERS
BY JIM SWING
Massaponax’s game plan from the start was entirely devoted to the run-game.
If the Panthers were going to get it done, going to erase a shutout loss to Brooke Point and stay in the playoff race, it was going to be on the legs of Alphonso Trice, Javonte Latney and a litany of other running backs.
It was a game plan that worked to the tune of 397 rushing yards in a 41–22 Commonwealth District win over Riverbend on Friday night.
Trice and Latney each eclipsed 100 yards on the ground. But Panthers head coach Eric Ludden downplayed his teams dominant run-game.
“That’s what we do,” Ludden said. “We feel like we have pretty good capabilities with passing but that wasn’t in the game plan tonight.”
Trice didn’t make his first pass attempt until 50 seconds left in the third quarter.
By that time, Latney had already ran for touchdowns of 15 and 48 yards to help give the Panthers a 27–9 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Latney, at 5-foot-11, 230-pounds, rushed 19 times for 198 yards and three touchdowns.
In what was essentially garbage time, he added another touchdown to his tally, this one for 47 yards to give Massaponax a 19-point lead.
“He looked really fast tonight for a big guy,” Ludden said.
The big guy likes being the guy who leads the pack.
“I just like coming through for the team and finding a win for us,” he said.
When the ball wasn’t in the hands of Latney, it was being held by Trice, who ran 16 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
Just when the Bears saw a glimmer of hope with help from a 29-yard field goal by Lance Dasilva to cut the lead to 14–3 in the third quarter, Trice stripped it away by running for a 3-yard touchdown to extend the lead.
He’d do it again in the fourth quarter, this time for a 15-yard touchdown to all but close out the win.
“We focused on going back to the basics this week,” Trice said.
While the Panthers’ offense thrived nearly all night, Riverbend’s could barely get started.
Quarterback Eric Byrd struggled with accuracy all night and threw one interception.
The Bears got the ball to start the second half down just 11, and fumbled it away on the first play.
The only bright spot came from running back Zach Sims, who ran for 71 yards and two touchdowns, one for 67 yards.
“I was expecting a close game,” Ludden said. “And we just got some good breaks tonight.”
With the win, the Panthers (5–3, 3–3) put themselves in an even better position to make the playoffs. They face a tough task in visiting first-place Colonial Forge on Friday.
Riverbend (4–4, 3–3) travels to Albemarle.
“It’s pretty big,” Latney said. “It’s going to help us to the playoffs hopefully.”
Riverbend 0 3 6 13 — 22
Massaponax 7 7 13 14 — 41
Ma-J. Foster 13-yard run (K. Phelps kick)
Ma-J. Latney 15-yard run (K. Phelps kick)
Rb-L. DaSilva 29-yard field goal
Ma-A. Trice 3-yard run (kick failed)
Ma-J. Latney 48-yard run (K. Phelps kick)
Rb-J. Deason 3-yard pass from E. Byrd (kick failed)
Rb-Z. Sims 1-yard run (pass failed)
Ma-J. Latney 47-yard run (K. Phelps kick)
Ma-A. Trice 15-yard run (K. Phelps kick)
Rb-Z. Sims 67-yard run (L. DaSilva kick)
First downs12 19
Rushing yardage24-154 53-397
Passing yardage100 2
Rushing: Massaponax—Javonte Latney 19-198, 3TD; Alphonzo Trice 16-123, 2TD; Joey Foster 6-35, TD; Brandon Parks 4-22; Aubrey Wilson 4-14; Cortez Jones 1-6; AJ Forbes 2-2; Tony Barnett 1-(-3). Riverbend—Zach Sims 16-138, 2TD; Jamie Deason 1-13; DaVonte Christmas 1-2; Eric Byrd 6-1.
Passing: Massaponax—Alphonzo Trice 1-4-0 2; Joey Foster 0-1-0 0. Riverbend—Eric Byrd 12-19-1 100, TD; DaVonte Christmas 1-32-0 0.
Receiving: Massaponax—Darren Gary 1-2. Riverbend—Matt Capozza 7-82; Conner Booren 3-52; Jamie Deason 1-3, TD; Zach Sims 2-(-5).
Jim Swing: 540/374-5440