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Prep Football: Panthers finish with three straight
BY JIM SWING
Three weeks ago, fresh off a shutout loss to Brooke Point, Massaponax set forth a goal to win the next three games and comfortably ease into the playoffs.
Panthers coach Eric Ludden figured his team would need all three to even make the playoffs.
Now, following a dominant 35–0 win over Albemarle, Massaponax has won three straight games and is looking ahead to the postseason.
“That was a crucial goal for these guys,” Ludden said.
It came at the expense of a disastrous performance by the Patriots.
On the opening kickoff, Albemarle turned the ball over on a fumble at its own 17.
Just three plays later, Javonte Latney ran up the middle for a touchdown to put the Panthers on the board 1:12 into the game.
More luck was headed Massaponax’s way two possessions later when Panthers quarterback Alphonso Trice fumbled an attempted screen pass behind the line of scrimmage.
A group of Albemarle defensive lineman pounced on the ball, but it squirted out to Massaponax running back A.J. Forbes, who snatched it and dashed it 46 yards for a touchdown.
“I was just ‘see ball, get ball,’” Forbes said.
Nearing the end of the first quarter—separated by just 21 seconds—Trice ran for a 42-yard touchdown and Latney scored on a 1-yard run, giving the Panthers a 28–0 lead.
Then, oddly enough, Forbes recovered another fumble and returned it for a touchdown.
Forbes picked up a fumble by Patriots running back Brandon Haney and took it 61 yards into the end zone.
“I’ve never seen anything like that,” Ludden said.
Albemarle fumbled the ball six times and allowed Massaponax to recover four of them.
Patriots quarterback Peyton Alley went 9-of-17 for 112 yards. A.J. Willy caught six passes for 92 yards.
Forbes finished with 83 rushing yards along with Latney, who added 67 yards on 15 carries.
Massaponax (7–3) hosts Brooke Point Friday in the first round of the Northwest Region, Division 5 playoffs.
“We’re confident,” Latney said. “But we’re not trying to be too confident.”
Albemarle 0 0 0 0 — 0
Massaponax 28 7 0 0 — 35
Ma-J. Latney 4-yard run (K. Phelps kick)
Ma-A. Forbes 46-yard fumble recovery (K. Phelps kick)
Ma-A. Trice 42-yard run (K. Phelps kick)
Ma-J. Latney 1-yard run (K. Phelps kick)
Ma-A. Forbes 61-yard fumble recovery (K. Phelps kick)
First downs14 10
Rushing yardage33-64 34-234
Passing yardage112 16
Rushing: Massaponax—AJ Forbes 3-83; Javonte Latney 15-67, 2TD; Alphonzo Trice 5-60, TD; Aubrey Wilson 4-15; Joey Foster 3-6; Cason Whitt 1-2; Cortez Jones 3-1; Darren Gary 2-17. Albemarle—Nick Troche 28-72; Brandon Haney 3-28; Peyton Alley 2-(-36).
Passing: Massaponax—Alphonzo Trice 2-4-0 16. Albemarle—Peyton Alley 9-17-0 112.
Receiving: Massaponax—Tony Barnett 1-10; Joey Foster 1-6. Albemarle—A.J. Willy 6-92; Matthew Crist 2-20; Eli Mackay 1-0.
Jim Swing: 540/374-5440