By Daniel Brunty The Choctaw Plaindealer
The French Camp Panthers were hoping to repeat last year’s success of defeating Class 2A Eupora again in this season’s opening game.
Unfortunately, it was the Panthers on the losing end of a 20-10 score as the Eagles went on to revenge last season’s loss.
French Camp was looking to test themselves early in the season as they traveled to Eupora last Friday night to get it on with the Eagles. But it would be an uphill battle for the Panthers, as the game took a turn for the worse for them during the very first play of the game.
The Eagles received the first possession of the night, and did not waste any time as their all-star wide receiver Derrick Jones returned the kickoff for a 95-yard touchdown. The PAT gave the Eagles the 7-0 lead early in the game.
Neither team would score for the rest of the quarter. In the second quarter, the French Camp defense would come alive when linebacker Jaylon Clemons would strip and recover the ball from a Eupora ball carrier and return it for a 40-yard touchdown. The PAT would tie the game at 7 all. French Camp would then take the lead in the second quarter after a 32- yard field goal by Sam Gould. The Panthers would take a 10-7 lead going into halftime.
The third quarter would see the Panthers’ offense come to a stall, and the Eagles’ offense come alive. The Eagles would put up another touchdown as Jones caught a 44-yard pass to put the Eagles back in the lead. The Panthers would block the PAT, leaving the score 13-10.
Neither team would score for the rest of the quarter. The fourth quarter would be the same for the Panthers, with the team not managing to get back into the end zone.
The last score of the night was again by Jones, who caught a 24-yard touchdown pass to close out the game. The PAT would make the score 20-10, which was the final.
The Panthers had some bright spots on both sides of the ball in the loss. Clemons rushed for 102 yards to go with one touchdown on the fumble recovery. Ben Hosket had 10 tackles, while Daniel Hughes and Dillon Dickey both had 8 tackles. Hughes also had one sack for the night.
Up next for the Panthers is a road game against in-county rival Weir this Friday. The Lions are 1-0 for the season after defeating JZ George last Friday 21-20. These tams met up last season with the Panthers defeating Weir 46-25. Kickoff for the game will be at 7:30 p.m. in Weir.