The Miami Trace Panthers and Washington Blue Lions wrapped up the 2015 football season with the annual rivalry game.
This year’s edition was played at Miami Trace High School.
The Panthers had a very good first half, scoring 21 points.
The Miami Trace defense allowed just six points in the second half for the 21-6 final.
Miami Trace finishes the season with a record of 3-7 overall, 3-4 in the SCOL.
Washington concludes the 2015 campaign with a mark of 4-6 overall, 3-4 in the SCOL.
The Blue Lions and Panthers finish tied for fourth place in the SCOL.
The game was played on a cold, windless and thankfully dry final Friday of October, the night before Halloween.
“The kids just did a great job all night,” Miami Trace head coach Steve Bartlett said. “They played hard. The Court House kids played hard. It’s a shame there had to be a loser.
“Our defense played with passion tonight,” Bartlett said. “We’re really, really proud of them. We’re happy for our seniors. We’re glad they get to go out with a big win like this.
“Corey Dye does a great job with his kids in there,” Bartlett said. “He is a class act.”
“Credit goes to Steve Bartlett and Miami Trace,” Dye said. “They played very well tonight.
“We had our chances there in the first half,” Dye said. “We weren’t able to put any points on the board. Just when it looked like we were going to punch it in, we had a costly turnover.
“Our kids played their hearts out,” Dye said. “They left everything out on that field. We’ve been through a lot of adversity this season and I’m proud of these kids and the way they’ve kept the team together and continued to work hard and continue to fight. That’s all you can ask of your team.
“It’s unfortunate,” Dye said. “But, credit goes to Miami Trace; they played one heck of a football game.”
The Blue Lions took the opening kickoff and moved the ball down to the Miami Trace 24-yard line, where the drive stalled.
On the Panthers’ first possession of the game, Larry Jackson broke a 67-yard run for the initial score of the contest.
Blake Pittser’s kick made it 7-0 Panthers at the 8:11 mark of the first quarter.
The Blue Lions showed they could move the ball again on the second series of plays.
Washington began at its own 28 and moved the ball down field with running from Aaron Greer and Timothy Robinson and a pass to Mason McCane.
An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Miami Trace gave the Blue Lions the ball at the Miami Trace 15-yard line.
On the very next play, the Blue Lions fumbled. The ball was recovered by the Panthers’ Coby Hughes at the Panther nine-yard line.
This series for Miami Trace was sparked by a nice run by Brady Wallace out to the Panther 38-yard line.
Austin Lovett hit Tiante Connell for a pass down to the 29-yard line.
The Panthers were at the 13-yard line of Washington when time expired in the first quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter, it was Jackson again, taking it in from 13 yards to give Miami Trace a 13-0 lead. Pittser’s kick made it 14-0, Miami Trace at the 11:53 mark of the second quarter.
After an exchange of punts, the Blue Lions had the ball at their own 35-yard line.
On the first play of this series, Wallace came up with an interception for the Panthers. Miami Trace had the ball at their own 45-yard line with 6:12 to play until halftime.
Lovett hit Wallace with a completion down to the 6-yard line.
From there, it was Jackson for his third touchdown of the game. Pittser’s kick made it 21-0 at the 2:24 mark of the second quarter.
Jackson needed 192 yards coming into the game to reach the 1,000-yard mark.
At the half, he had accumulated 125 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries.
Miami Trace had 260 yards of offense in the first half to 110 for Washington.
The Panthers had 224 rushing yards in the first half, while the Blue Lions got most of their yards through the air (82 yards passing).
To begin the third quarter, the Panthers got the ball first on offense.
It was a quick three and out for the Blue Lion defense.
After the ensuing punt, the Blue Lions had the ball in excellent field position at the Miami Trace 26-yard line.
Four plays later, Timothy Robinson scored from seven yards out for the Blue Lions.
On the extra-point attempt, it appeared to be bad snap that resulted in Washington trying to go for two points. In any event, the extra-point try was no good, leaving the Panthers with a 21-6 lead and 7:23 to play in the third quarter.
From that point, the two defenses took over and there was no further scoring in the game.
Miami Trace had 290 yards of total offense to 262 for Washington.
The Panthers carried the ball 45 times for 234 yards and three touchdowns.
The Blue Lions had 32 carries for 94 yards and one touchdown.
Austin Lovett was 3 for 3 passing for 56 yards for Miami Trace.
For the Blue Lions, C.J. Taylor was 4 of 12 for 69 yards and one interception; Jarett Patton was 5 of 16 passing for 62 yards and Eric Barden was 1 of 1 for 37 yards.
Robinson led the Blue Lions on the ground with 50 yards on 10 carries and one touchdown.
Aaron Greer had 36 yards on nine carries and Kyle Garrett had 20 yards on seven carries.
For the Panthers, Jackson had 155 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries. That would leave Jackson, unoffically, with 963 yards rushing for the season.
Baley Allen carried 12 times for 32 yards; Brady Wallace had one carry for 29 yards and Devin Bainter carried six times for 10 yards.
Kory Proby had six catches for the Blue Lions for 102 yards. Mason McCane caught two passes for 45 yards.
Defensively, McCane and Trevor Hicks led the Blue Lions with seven tackles.
Garrett had 4.5 tackles, Steven Willis had 4 tackles and Kameron Kearns had 4 tackles.
For the Panthers, Hughes had 6.5 tackles, Wallace had 6 tackles, Jacob Haldeman had 5 tackles and Matthew Hottinger had 4.5 tackles.
Notes: Ricky Harris, who lost his mother and three sons tragically last December, spoke with gratitude and emotion to the Blue Lion players assembled in the visitor’s locker room after the game.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1