The Stanly County Panthers went on the road Saturday for the second time in as many
weeks, facing the Thomasville Titans, a team that was still in search of its first win in 2014.
In 2011, both as members of the CCFL, the Panthers earned the team’s first home win in its history over Thomasville, 56-2.
On Saturday, Stanly rallied from a halftime deficit behind a new quarterback and earned a 12-10 win over the Titans in Thomasville.
The Panthers got the opening kickoff but fumbled the ball at the 35 and the Titans recovered.
However, Stanly’s defense held Thomasville to a field goal.
Trailing 3-0, Stanly’s new quarterback, Josh Byrum, led the team down into the Thomasville redzone, where Byrum threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to put the Panthers up 6-3.
Just before halftime, the Titans (0-3) returned a punt for what proved to be Thomasville’s only touchdown of the game, leading to a 10-6 halftime advantage for the home team.
The ground attack of Stanly County (2-1) started becoming a factor in the second half. A.J. Little and Terrance Blackmon became a solid one-two punch from the backfield for Stanly. Blackmon led the Panthers with 70 yards on six carries while Little added seven carries for 32 yards. As a
team, Stanly County had 145 yards on 17 carries.
Stanly took the lead for good with six minutes left. Again, deep in the Titans’ end of the field, Byrum faked a dive play and ran off tackle for a three-yard touchdown to put the Panthers up 12-10.
“We definitely have improved, especially with running the ball,”
Stanly head coach Shaun Gaines said.
The Panthers’ coach added that the team needed to work on
throwing the ball more efficiently. Byrum was 3-for-12 for 40 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Stanly also lost two fumbles on offense.
Defensively, the Panthers have now gone nine quarters without allowing an offensive touchdown dating back to the season opener versus Anson.
Chris Polk had two interceptions for the Panthers, while Roman Johnson, who had two sacks and caused two fumbles, and Larell Jones added three tackles and a sack. James Snow also had four tackles and a fumble recovery, and Kavin Dockery had seven tackles, two for a loss.
“I couldn’t be happier with the defense,” Gaines said.
“I knew what talent we had. It’s starting to gel together and we are starting to play like we should. We have things to work on offensively. We ran well but could run better, and we are working on the timing between our quarterback and receivers.”
The league will take the July 4 weekend off and return to play July 11. Stanly has a bye scheduled that week but Gaines said that the Panthers are trying to schedule either a home game with Thomasville or a road game at the Greenville Seminoles.