Blount Press Row

Panthers Pounce

Late William Blount charge falls short in overtime

Governor quarterback Reed Daniels sets to throw during Friday’s game with Lenoir City. Photos by Jolanda Jansma

 

By Stefan Cooper
Editor
Blount Press Row

Brandon Tipton ran tough. Reed Daniels didn’t pout.

Brandon Tipton scoots for the corner.

It almost worked out for William Blount, but Lenoir City quarterback Mason Sharpe found just enough of a crease from 2 yards out in overtime, extending the ball over the goal line to lift the Panthers to a 20-17 win Friday night at Mike White Field.

Tipton got the start at quarterback for the Governors (2-4, 1-2 District 4AAA), with Daniels, the starter the first five games, moving to receiver after a rough outing last week

Lenoir City (3-3, 1-2) took full advantage, bunching the line of scrimmage with its linebackers to shut down William Blount running back Peyton Otis. With the Panther safeties up close as well, Tipton, more the runner of William Blount’s two quarterbacks, could find little room at the corners to provide any relief.

The Governor offense stalled as a result, Lenoir City riding a Jaylon Woods 88-yard return of the opening kickoff all the way to a 7-6 halftime lead.

With time running out, the deficit now 14-6,William Blount coach Justin Ridge returned the offense to Daniels.

“We had them both ready,” Ridge said. “Reed did some good things, and Tipton did some good things.”

“Coach said we needed a change,” Daniels said. “We needed something to happen.

“Brandon did great tonight. Give him credit.”

Joel Graham set up William Blount's first score with this amazing, leaping catch.

Daniels took command of the huddle right away upon entering.

“I said, ‘Look at the scoreboard. We’re in this game. Let’s go!’” he said.

William Blount immediately caught fire, pulling even at 14-all on an Otis 5-yard run around left end, the Governor senior adding the two-point conversion run as well.

Xavier Satterfield gave the Governors a chance to win it in the closing minutes of regulation, dropping Sharpe for a 5-yard loss with Lenoir City in third-and-7. Satterfield had a needful fumble recovery to halt a Panther march in the opening half.

William Blount drove quickly on a pair Daniels throws in the waning seconds, marching to third-and-7 at the Panther 24-yard line with just over 20 seconds left. Ridge elected to take no further chances at that point, instructing to Daniels to run the clock down to six seconds before spiking the ball.

“We were more afraid of a pick,” Ridge said. “I believed in our chances in overtime. We were running the ball well and we were shutting them down.”

Will Hodgson’s 41-yard field goal attempt fell well short as the horn sounded.

Hodgson converted for the Governors from 28 yards on the first possession of overtime for a brief, 17-14 lead. Sharpe got in from the 2 for Lenoir City three plays later.

Graham (11) and Michael Harris (33) converge on a Panther ball carrier.

After the game-opening sprint from Woods, the defenses for both teams took control. Governor defensive back/receiver Joel Graham, in fact, jumpstarted the Governors’ first score with an interception of a Sharpe pass with just over a minute to play in the opening quarter. Otis scored from 2 yards with 10 minutes remaining in the second.

Graham won a miraculous, mid-air duel with a Panther defender on a 26-yard catch to set up the score, putting William Blount in first-and-goal at the Lenoir City 1-yard line.

Woods struck again for the Panthers with 11:26 remaining the fourth, the University of Tennessee commitment dashing to the end zone off right guard from 7 yards for a 14-6 Lenoir City advantage.

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