Circleville spoils opener for Panthers, 41-14

CIRCLEVILLE — Though trailing only by a touchdown at halftime, Miami Trace couldn’t find its rhythm in the second half as the Panthers fell to Circleville 41-14 to begin the 2017 season.

Circleville got quickly out in front 14-0 on a long touchdown pass and on a short drive set up by a blocked punt.

After senior Brady Wallace intercepted a Circleville pass with two minutes left in the first period, the Panthers put together a 15-play drive that covered 80 yards and culminated with Coby Hughes hauling in a four-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Arledge, and Miami Trace trailed, 14-7.

The Tigers came back with a 13-play drive that covered 65 yards to get back out in front by two scores.

Wallace quickly got his team back in scoring position by returning the Circleville kickoff 52 yards and then took a handoff on the first play and raced 43 yards for a touchdown.

Miami Trace racked up 135 yards on the ground in the first half and another 21 in the air. But the Panthers weren’t able to repeat that success in the second half.

“We came out and got into negative yards and big plays, they get a sack and we’re just making bad decisions at the wrong times,” Miami Trace head coach Jerry Williams said. “You can’t get back into that run game when you’re 17, 18 yards behind the sticks. We never got in position to get back in the rhythm the second half.”

Circleville was able to add three more touchdowns to its side of the scoreboard in the second while holding the Panthers scoreless and to only 21 rushing yards in the last two quarters.

Williams will be working to get his young players’ confidence up as they prepare for Carlisle (0-1) next Friday.

“We’ve got to get them to believe they can play,” Williams said of his group that includes only three returning lettermen. “These guys are all new, they’re all young, and it’s all firsts. We’ve just got to take it one day at a time and win each day.”

Wallace ended the night with 137 yards on 15 carries and Hughes led the receivers with five catches for 51 yards.

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Miami Trace sophomore Andrew Amore (20) picks up yardage during the season-opening game at Circleville Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. Trace sophomore Andrew Amore (20) picks up yardage during the season-opening game at Circleville Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. Photo by John Howley | Circleville Herald

By John Howley

For the Circleville Herald