A large crowd turned out at for Homecoming 2017 at Miami Trace High School on a comfortable, dry Friday evening.
The opponent was the Jackson Ironmen for the second week of play in the first season of the Frontier Athletic Conference.
Both teams came into the game with conference records of 1-0.
The Panthers got out of the gate with a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.
Miami Trace fell behind by two scores, but were able to come back and tie the game at the half.
However, in the second half, Jackson exerted itself and pulled away from the Panthers to post a 48-28 victory.
“At no point did this team quit,” Miami Trace head coach Jerry Williams said. “This team played their hearts out from start to finish. We made some big plays and got on them and surprised them with some things and did really well (in the first half).
“The difference between the two halves is, we made plays in the first half,” Williams said. “In the second half, we didn’t make plays.
“Jackson is a good football team,” Williams said. “They are exactly who we thought they would be. They capitalized on our mistakes. When we made mistakes, they were able to capitalize on them. Right now we just don’t have enough experience and knowledge of the game to take advantage of what they’re doing.”
The Panthers electrified the Homecoming throng when Brady Wallace took the hand off and raced 80 yards for a touchdown on the opening play of the game.
Justin Shoemaker’s kick gave the Panthers a 7-0 lead.
Jackson tied the game on their second possession with a 74-yard run by quarterback Jared Icenhower. The PAT made it 7-7 with 3:26 to play in the first quarter.
Jackson scored early in the second quarter on a 2-yard run by Caleb Haller.
Just a couple of minutes later, it was a 48-yard touchdown pass to Reid Evans. With the kick it was 21-7, Ironmen with 9:25 remaining in the half.
Right after this score there was a lengthy delay for an injury to a Jackson player who had to be taken to the hospital by the life squad.
The Panthers, as Williams indicated, had plenty of fight in them.
Wallace took the hand off from quarterback Tyler Taylor and threw a pass to Coby Hughes good for a 77-yard gain.
That set up a three-yard touchdown run by Wallace. The extra-point kick was blocked, leaving Jackson in front, 21-13.
The Panthers’ defense played with resolve and forced Jackson to punt.
The Panthers moved the ball down the field and went for it on fourth down and 12 at the Jackson 40. Wallace hit Taylor with a pass and a great catch for a first down.
Moments later, Taylor completed a pass to Caden Sweitzer.
Taylor hit Hughes for the two-point conversion, which tied the game, 21-21, which was the score at the half.
Taking a look at the stats at the half, the Panthers had completed 7 of 13 passes for 199 yards and carried 16 times for 89 yards.
Jackson was 3 of 7 passing for 70 yards and had 18 carries for 179 yards.
Jackson opened the second half with a long, time-consuming drive that resulted in an 8-yard touchdown run by Icenhower at the 6:04 mark.
Soon Jackson had the ball again and scored on a two-yard run by Haller. The kick was no good, leaving Jackson in front, 34-21 with 1:14 to play in the third quarter.
The first turnover of the game occurred with 9:38 to play in the game, a Jackson fumble recovered by the Panthers’ Josh Liff at the Jackson 33-yard line.
However, the Ironmen soon intercepted a pass at their own 16, thwarting that Panther opportunity.
Jackson then broke an 82-yard touchdown run and completed the two-point pass to go in front, 42-21 with 7:55 remaining.
The Panthers answered with a 19-yard strike from Taylor to Wallace at the 5:07 mark. Shoemaker’s kick made it 42-28, Ironmen.
Soon it was Jackson’s Blake McCoy streaking to the end zone for a 65-yard touchdown just moments later. The point-after failed.
Wallace then returned the ensuing kickoff over 90 yards for a touchdown. However, a penalty on Miami Trace nullified that score.
The final moments wound off the clock with Jackson taking the 48-28 win.
Miami Trace (1-6 overall, 1-1 in the FAC) will be back at home next week to take on the Chillicothe Cavaliers.
The Cavs rolled over the McClain Tigers last night, 56-0 to improve to 5-2 overall, 2-0 in the FAC.
In other FAC action, the Hillsboro Indians improved to 5-2 overall, 1-1 in the FAC with a 41-34 win over the Blue Lions of Washington (3-4, 0-2).