Lecanto Panthers fall to Wildwood Wildcats in exciting battle

The Lecanto offense heads to the sideline during a timeout. (Photo: Chesser)

The Lecanto Panthers fell to a 3-3 record after losing to the Wildwood Wildcats (4-2) by a score of 34-20 on Friday, Oct. 7.

The Panthers seemed to start well against the Wildcats when senior Nick Nightengale intercepted Wildwood senior quarterback Sean Hensley, but Lecanto would fail to score.

Wildwood went up 7 -0 after sophomore Kendrick Brown ran eighty-four yards. Brown had one hundred four yards rushing. The Wildcats scored again in the first quarter when junior Jalen Gooden ran twenty-nine yards to make the score 14-0.

Wildwood kept the scoring going into the second quarter, when Brown rushed for his second touchdown on another long run of seventy-four yards to put the Wildcats up 21-0. Wildwood scored once again before halftime when Gooden also got his second rushing touchdown on a  forty-three yard run. Wildwood would miss the extra point, so the score would remain 27-0 going into halftime.

Lecanto came out in the second half ready to play, but that would not stop Wildwood’s junior running back Chakestein Brown put his team up 34-0 after a two-yard run.

A scary moment occured on the kickoff after the Brown touchdown: sophomore running back Deion Moore returned the kick and after being tackled by two Wildwood defenders, Moore laid on the field not moving. Moore suffered a broken collarbone on the play.

After the injury, Lecanto prepared to go on offense, but before their drive started there was a drastic change in weather when rain started pouring onto the field.

The weather change worked in the Panthers’ favor when senior running back Tra’vaun Greenlee got Lecanto’s first touchdown on a long seventy-six run to make the score 34-7.

Lecanto scored again quickly when the Panthers sacked Hensley causing him to fumble, and freshmen Ardante Anderson picked up the fumble and ran eight yards into the endzone. The Panthers went for two but failed, so the score remained 34-13.

Lecanto stopped the Wildcat offense once again causing them to punt, and the Panthers recieved the ball. After three plays head coach McKinley Rolle was faced with a fourth down and only one-yard to go. After taking a time out, the Panthers came out with their offense looking to go for it. Rolle’s decision to go for it worked out; Greenlee would take the snap and not only get the first down, but he would run fifty-one yards for a Lecanto touchdown to make the score 34-20.

Even though the Panthers could not pull out a victory, they still believed they

The Lecanto coaches discuss the team's game plan with their offense. (Photo: Chesser)

played a great game.

“I’m proud of my team. We played well and made the game close,” said sophomore Alizah Robinson.

This would be the end of the Panthers comeback, and the players were proud of their second half performance, but know they must play that way for the whole game.

“If we would have played the whole game with intensity we played within the second half, it would have been a different outcome,” said senior Brandon Dawes.

Lecanto ran the ball very well throughout the game, racking up two hundred ten yards in rushing. The weather was also a big factor in the game.

“Our running game helped a lot throughout the game, and when it started raining we played really well,” said senior Willie Mobley.

Lecanto has no game this week due to having a bye week, but their next game will be Oct. 21 at home versus the Lake Weir Hurricanes. The game is their Homecoming game, so the Panthers plan to play hard and be on top of their game.

“This game is homecoming, so losing is not an option,” said senior Taylor Pitts.