By Wendell Womack
The Winston Patriot’s upset loss to the Canton Panthers last week at Patriot Field proved one thing: The Patriots were at the game, but not in the game! Anytime that a team has more turnovers than points, it is almost a shoe in, that a victory will not follow.
This was the case as fumbles, interceptions, and penalties killed the Patriot’s chance of putting a district victory on their record instead of a pair of district losses. Winston’s opening possession started the turnover show as an interception set up Canton’s first score.
With 8:08 left in the opening quarter, a 35 yard Panther pass and PAT kick put the visitors up 7-0. Winston followed right back with a fumble turnover at their own 17 yard line.
The Patriot defense did step up and deny the score on a fourth down attempt to take over at their own 11 yard line. But trouble comes in “threes” as another Winston fumble gave the ball right back to Canton at the Panther 31 yard line to stop the Patriot drive. Both defenses stepped up and forced a series of punts to start the second quarter of action, before disaster continued to unfold on the Patriots. After moving the ball down to the Canton 20 yard line, the third Winston fumble gave the Panthers ball possession with 6:33 left before half.
After forcing a Canton punt, the turnover show continued as another interception ended a Patriot drive at the Canton 29 yard line. Canton would then settle for their shocking 7-0 lead as they ran out the clock to end the first half. Canton would then open the second half with ball possession and on opening drive score and point after kick to go up 14-0. Both teams followed with punting situations and then a little luck fell towards the Patriots when a bad snap from center on a Canton punt saw Winston take over at the Canton 18 yard line.
The Patriots then showed a sign of life with a score of their own when Zach Taylor bulled his way over from 5 yards out. Gage Graham’s PAT cut the Canton lead t 14-7 with 5:13 left in the third quarter. Canton would follow with a missed field goal attempt but the Patriots were unable to find first down yardage and turned it back over on downs at midfield.
The Panthers then were successful on another field goal attempt to go up 17-7 with 9:39 left in the game. Facing another 4th down situation, the Patriots were denied the needed yardage and Canton was back in business at the Winston 34 yard line.
It was on this possession that they shut the door on the Patriots with another score and PAT to seal the victory with a 24-7 win.
Although the fumbles and interceptions slowed up the second half, a Winston touchdown was called back due to a holding penalty on the Patriots and the momentum had shifted so much to the visitors, that it was hard to recover late in the game. The defensive charge saw several Patriots have a good night in tackles as Sam Dempsey led chart with 11 stops, followed by Zach Taylor and Tanner Moore with 10 each. Ty Thompson followed this group with 7 recorded tackles.
The offense saw the rushing game leader, Orien Dailey finish with 59 yards. He was followed by Zach Taylor with 44 yards and the only score of the night, and Logan Webb with 40 yards. Webb also passed for 70 yards, with his primary receiver being Carter Lane Jones with 36 yards on 4 receptions.
So as the bumps, bruises, heart, and souls need to heal on the Patriots, they just need to settle down, and make the best out of a bad situation.
As they travel to Yazoo City this week to take on district opponent Manchester, they will focus on what’s ahead, and not what’s behind them. Game time is at 7 p.m.