Panthers win thriller to move into second round

By Austin Bishop

The Choctaw Plaindealer


The French Camp Academy football team shouldn’t have had any trouble sleeping on the bus on the long ride home after taking a come-from-behind 37-34 win over Bogue Chitto in the first round of the MHSAA Class 1A State Football Playoffs on Friday night.

“I think we expended every ounce of energy we had, which was a good thing,” said FCA head football coach Nathan Wright. “It was as exciting of a game as I have every been part of. Almost too exciting.”

After Bogue Chitto struck for a 59-yard touchdown pass on its first possession of the second half to go up 28-10, it looked like FCA’s chances of returning to the MHSAA Class 1A State Championship Game were dim.

But then, the light came on.

“We came back and scored three straight times,” Wright said. “It was a big quarter for us. The whole thing was just a big team effort. Everybody contributed and did their part to make it happen.”

The tough path back to Jackson and the Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium continues this Friday night when they host a Lumberton team that knocked off Region 3-1A champion Noxapater 48-35 last Friday night.

“Their whole division (Region 4-1A) has been a knock down and drag out all year,” Wright said. “They have had six teams fighting for the playoff spots all year and there hasn’t been a touchdown difference between any of them every week.”

Wright said he knew if his team could go down and play well at Bogue Chitto that they would have a chance to keep advancing in the playoffs.

“We told the guys going into the game (against Bogue Chitto) that we didn’t know what our capabilities were,” Wright said. “But we knew if we could play well and beat them we could play with anybody.”

If FCA were to beat Lumberton, the Panthers — who won the 1A North State title last year before moving to South State this season — could very well match up against Stringer for the South State championship. It was Stringer that defeated FCA in the title game last year. The SHS Red Devils take on Hinds AHS on Friday night in the other South State semifinal match-up.

Senior quarterback Jesse Hosket had a huge game on Friday night, hitting on 18-of-25 passes for 224 yards and a touchdown, while also leading the team in rushing with 66 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.

He also led the Panthers in tackles with 10 and picked off a pass deep in his team’s territory as Bogue Chitto was driving late in the game, sealing the victory for FCA.

Bogue Chitto lead 14-0 after one quarter of play before Hosket hit Hunter McKnight with a 23-yard scoring strike and Sam Gould booted the point after to cut it to 14-7. BC scored on a 71-yard pass play to make it 21-7, before Gould cut it to 21-10 at the half with a 30-yard field goal.

After the home team went up 28-10, the Panthers scored on a 9-yard run by Daniel Hughes, a 60-yard punt return by Michael Erving and a 44-yard run by Hosket to take a 30-28 lead after three quarters of play.

Bogue Chitto regained the lead at 34-30, only to have FCA respond with a 17-yard touchdown run by Hosket.

Hagan Box caught eight passes for 56 yards and rushed for 28 more for the Panthers, while Erving rushed for 26 yards on nine attempts and had three catches for 68 yards. McKnight had four catches for 68 yards, while Henson had three catches for 23.

Jevante McAdory had eight tackles for the winners, while Luke McKnight had seven stops and an interception. Also picking off passes were Erving and Nyang Wek.