Panthers’ varsity football team suffers a hard loss to Citrus

Senior wide receiver A.J. Mele waits to move down the field after the snap. (Photo: Chesser)

The Lecanto Panthers (2-2, with a district record of 0-1), suffered a hard loss Friday, September 23 to county rival Citrus Hurricanes (2-2, with a district record of 1-0). The final score was 33-0 in a hard-fought game.

The Hurricanes scored first with a 45-yard field goal by senior kicker Connor Killeen, to start the score at 3-0.

The ‘Canes scored again before halftime on a two-yard run by senior running back Brandon Roberts to raise the score to 10-0. The touchdown was set up by sophomore running back James Pouncey on a thirty-five yard run the play before.

The Panthers came out in the second half looking ready to play, when junior Akeem Gibbs took the opening kick back to midfield. The next play, senior running back Willie Mobley had a fifty-yard touchdown that would end up being called back on a questionable personal foul penalty.

Citrus scored next on a two-yard run by Roberts that was set up by a Lecanto turnover, setting the score to 16-0. ’Canes senior kicker Robert Cignarelli would get another field goal to raise the score to 19-0.

Two more scores would be added by Citrus running backs Breon Whaley and Roberts, to make the score 33-0.

Before the ‘Canes’ last score, Lecanto had yet another touchdown called back after an eighty-yard kickoff return by sophomore Nile Waters, due to a holding call.

This loss was very hard on the Panthers, but they feel they had a few strong points in the game.

“The loss hurt. It felt like a self-loss, but our special teams played well,” said senior Mak Kennard.

Many players will not let this loss get in the way of their team, and they plan on sticking together.

“It brought us together and made us work harder. When the team’s down, I’m down, and when the team’s up, I’m up,” said senior Shawn Henderson.

Lecanto had their ups and downs Friday, and Citrus was able to capitalize on it.

“We did some things right, and we did some things wrong; good teams will take advantage of that,” said defensive coordinator Anthony Branch.

The Panthers are going to do their best to put the loss behind them and move on to their next opponent, the Lake Minneola Hawks.

“The past is the past; now we have to look to the future,” said junior Shawn Supinski.

The Panthers are excited for their next game at Lake Minneola coming up this Friday and plan to play a good, hard game.

“We’re going to put on our big-boy drawers and play some smash mouth football,” Henderson said.

When Kennard was asked about the upcoming game, all he had to say was, “Discipline and details are keys to success.”