Slow start too much to overcome for Panthers

By T. Scott Boatright


A scoreless first half was too much for Lincoln Preparatory School to overcome despite controlling the second as time ran out on the Panthers in a 43-26 loss at St. Frederick Friday night on Warriors Field.

Lincoln Prep looked to its run game early but found a wall had been put up by the Warriors.

Unable to do anything on the ground on their first two possessions, Panthers coach Glen Hall replaced his starting quarterback, rushing specialist Chauncy Harper, with big-armed senior quarterback Braylin Mayfield.

But that move didn’t take effect right off.

“We didn’t play at all in the first half,” Hall said. “We gave up touchdown passes and long runs where it looked like we weren’t even trying. We just let them catch three touchdowns without trying — not trying to knock the ball down or anything. At that point the effort just wasn’t there.

“It wasn’t surprising. We knew everything they were doing. But we didn’t do anything to try and stop them.”

A scoring reception by William Patrick followed by Michael Thompson’s one-yard scoring scamper at the 2:15 mark of the first quarter put St. Frederick up 15-0.

Then Michael Bell’s touchdown run and Patrick’s second scoring reception in the second quarter pushed the Warriors out to a 29-0 halftime advantage before the Panthers got a chance to regroup in the locker room.

They came out a different team in the second half.

“We just made a few minor adjustments when it came to blocking schemes,” Hall said. “They were blitzing every play and we weren’t blocking the blitzers. So once we moved a running  back up to pick up their edge rushers and not give them easy shots at the quarterback.

“They couldn’t run with us. We have more speed. So with the quarterback having more time, we started getting open and scoring touchdowns.”

Lincoln Prep opened the second half with a 20-yard scoring strike from Mayfield to Jamarion Buggs that cut the Warriors’ lead to 29-8 after a two-point conversion by the Panthers.

But St. Frederick countered with a third scoring reception by Patrick to move out to a 36-8 advantage.

Lincoln Prep responded with Mayfield hitting Jaiden Paige on a 10-yard touchdown pass Panthers 10-yard TD to shrink St. Frederick’s lead to 36-14.

The Warriors answered with Thompson running the ball to paydirt to push the Warriors’ lead to 43-14.

But the Panthers still weren’t done. 

Lincoln Prep then scored on two consecutive Mayfield bombs – a 52-yard scoring strike to Brandon Heard with 8:38 left on the clock and a 59-yard touchdown reception by Buggs that cut the St. Frederick lead to 43-26.

The Panthers then forced the Warriors to punt on a three-and-out offensive series. But the punt hit a Panthers in the back of his leg as it was coming down and a St. Frederick defender pounced on it.

St. Frederick ran out the clock from there to earn the win.

“We played a lot of freshmen trying to make something happen,” Hall said. “And one of them got hit with that punt and that was the end of it. 

“I just don’t know. It’s one of those things you try to wrap your mind around. They did come back in the second half and fight. But that fight needs to be there the whole game.”  

St. Frederick outgained Lincoln Prep 357-179 of yards on offensive with nearly all of the Panthers’ total coming through the air.

Buggs led the Panthers with five catches for 72 yards and his two scores  while Heard  added four receptions for 96 yards and his score.

Lincoln Prep (2-5, 0-1 in District 2-1A) will try to snap a five-game losing streak next weekend as they play at River Oaks (2-5 and 0-2), which lost 48-0 at home to Ouachita Christian Friday night.

“We’ve got to find a way to stop this losing slide,” Hall said. “This slide has turned into an avalanche for us right now. Losing five in a row makes it pretty tough. We’ve got to fight back. We’ve got to show some fight. I need all our players to fight at the same time — for the whole game.”

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