Varsity football comes up short against Armwood

Kate Caranante, Staff Writer

The varsity football team hosted the Armwood Hawks and lost 21-18, breaking their two-game win streak at Dad’s Stadium Sept. 7. 

“There’s always a silver lining to that game, but we’d like to be able to get to those lessons with a victory as well,” head coach Robert Weiner said. “We felt like we had a good chance of doing that in this game. It’s certainly disappointing that we lost, but when you do lose you got to turn it into the best learning opportunity you can.” 

The learning opportunity started on the first drive after the kick-off when the Hawks broke a long run putting them up 7-0 early in the first quarter. The Panthers regained possession but were forced to punt it away.  

With the Hawks driving, they fumbled at their own 40-yard line. The Panthers got a small drive going that resulted in a field goal by senior kicker Evan Passath, making the score 7-3. After an Armwood punt on the following drive, the Panthers took back the ball and drove down to the goal line. 

Junior quarterback Tucker Gleason kept it and ran the ball into the endzone for a touchdown. The extra point was good giving the Panthers the lead 10-7. 

The teams exchanged punts until Armwood scored on a deep pass with 4 minutes and 42 seconds left in the half, taking back the lead. Neither team could score in the remaining minutes before half, meaning Plant headed into halftime down 10-14. 

The third quarter was a defensive battle that resulted in the teams exchanging punts until with 2 minutes 21 seconds left in the quarter the Hawks had another long touchdown pass, putting them in the lead 10-21. 

Half way through the fourth quarter Gleason connected with junior wide receiver Judah Norwood in the end zone, and after running in the two-point conversion the Panthers were down 18-21 with 5 minutes and 7 seconds to go.  

The Hawks got the ball back and drove down to the red zone, but senior defensive back Leonard Parker picked it off and returned the ball to midfield with 2 minutes and 28 seconds remaining in the game. After converting on fourth-and-short the Panthers settled for a 36-yard field goal that would have tied the game. With eight seconds remaining on the clock, Passath’s kick was up and then blocked immediately, giving the Hawks an 18-21 victory over the Panthers.  

“The Plant-Armwood game makes us a better team whether we win or lose,” junior linebacker Jackson Hacker said. “Moving forward we know the little things we need to fix, and we know the next time we are in that big game we aren’t going to lose. We still want the state title.”  

Armwood is not in Plant’s division meaning this game has no effect on their road to the playoffs. 

“It’s always tough to lose at home especially when it comes down to the last second,” Gleason said. “We made some mistakes that hurt us but now we’re just going to learn from them. That’s why we like playing these tough games early in the season so now when we get into the same situation deep in the playoffs we’ll know how to handle it and come out victorious.” 

Before they can make it to the playoffs, however, they still have seven more regular season games to focus on. 

“You have to prepare for that speed, and sometimes it’s hard to prepare because you play different games and you think that that’s the speed that the game must be played, and that’s not only the speed, but it’s the intensity and the physicality of the game,” Weiner said. “Normally coming out of that game we have a better knowledge of that, and so then we’ll practice with kind of a different edge.” 

With more of an understanding of the level they need to play at, the team hopes to be more successful in the goals they have set in practice and on the field.  

“We have a really bad taste left in our mouths from the game, but we’ve already started to correct our mistakes through watching film and working on fundamentals,” senior defensive lineman Steven Sargent said. “Rather than letting this loss make us bitter, we’re going to use it to add fuel to the fire and beat whoever is next on our schedule after our bye week.”  

The varsity football team will travel to Gaither High School for their next game where they will faceoff at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21.