By Austin Bishop
Coach Nathan Wright’s French Camp Academy Panthers are about to enter the third segment of their season on Friday night on a three-game winning streak, following a convincing 47-8 win over McAdams.
Luke McKnight had a big game for the 4-2 Panthers in the game, throwing a trio of touchdown passes, running for one, and getting a defensive score when he scooped up a McAdams fumble and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown.
“When you look back on it he really did have a big night,” Wright said. “He was in the right place at the right time and made it count.”
The Panthers, who are now 3-0 in Region 3-1A play, host a strong MAIS opponent in Starkville Academy on Friday night, before taking on perhaps two of the best teams in Region 3-1A — Nanih Waiya and Noxapater — the next two weeks.
“These next three weeks are going to determine a lot about what kind of season we are going to have,” Wright said. “I consider Starkville to be on a plane maybe just a little under Eupora and Winona, but they are a very good team. On the terms of how they are coached, they will be the best-coached team we play year in and year out. Starkville Academy will set the tone for the last half of the season. Hopefully we can play well and take another step toward getting better and improving.”
FCA began the year at 1-2. After beating Winona Christian 25-7, the Panthers lost to Eupora 56-0 and Winona 43-7. Then came Region 3-1A wins over Sebastopol (26-20), Montgomery County (36-14), and McAdams (47-8).
After the three-game set with SA, Nanih Waiya, and Noxapater, the Panthers close out the year with league foes Durant, Ethel, and Leake County.
French Camp jumped out to a 13-0 first-quarter lead over McAdams after its first two possessions on Friday night, with McKnight scoring on a 4-yard run and Gage McGlothin hauling in a 10-yard scoring toss from McKnight. Jok Nebk hit on 4-of-6 of his extra point attempts on the night.
FCA scored three times in the second quarter, the first being on a scoop and score by McKnight from 65 yards out. McKnight then hit Noah Davenport with a 21-yard scoring toss and Maher Angelo returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown to help the winners go up 33-0 at the half.
McGlothin caught a 32-yard scoring toss from McKnight in the third quarter and Zac Gilmer scored on a 10-yard run for the Panthers in the fourth quarter.
McAdams’ fourth-quarter points game on a 5-yard run and a safety.
McKnight hit on 6-of-8 passes for 87 yards for the winners, while rushing for 25 yards on five carries. Adonis Clincy had eight rushes for 79 yards, while Corrie Witt had six carries for 28 yards. McGlothin had three catches for 52 yards and two scores, while Davenport had two catches for 26 yards and a touchdown and Aaron Witt had one catch for nine yards.
Brooks Warren led the French Camp defense with 13 tackles, while McGlothin had eight, Burchfield seven, and Angelo and Skylyr Effler recorded six each. Angelo and Warren each had interceptions for the winners, while McKnight recovered two fumbles and Stephen Seago and Isaiah Miller picked up one each.