PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Red Devils Too Much to Handle for Visiting Panthers

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Smiths Station head coach Mike Glisson PHOTO BY HARRISON TARR

By Harrison Tarr
For the Opelika Observer

When Smiths Station took the field in Phenix City on Friday evening, positive plays and points were tough to come by.

Between a standout performance from Central High School quarterback Caleb Nix, a stingy Red Devil defense and the black and silvers’ inability to capitalize on momentum swings, Mike Glisson’s squad was unable to stay in a game which eventually showed 56-0 on the scoreboard when the clock hit double zeros.

Simply put, it just wasn’t the Panthers’ night.

From opening kickoff on, it was all Central all night. The Red Devils opened the contest with a long touchdown run on their opening drive and never looked back.

On the other side of the field, Glisson’s squad struggled to gain any early momentum. Despite an attempt to establish the run game, Smiths Station was forced into a pair of three-and-outs on its first two possessions. Both drives netted negative yards and featured a sack.

Glisson attributes his teams’ inability to string anything together to their struggles in the trenches.

“We didn’t block very well tonight,” Glisson said. “I know they’ve got some very big D-lineman but we didn’t block very good.”

Glisson’s Panthers trailed 14-0 at the conclusion of the first period of play.

To the disappointment of Panther fans, the second quarter brought more of the same results. Smiths Station found a way to drive down to inside its opponents 20; however, an interception off the arm of Jackson Greer effectively killed any momentum the black and silver had built.

The Panthers’ fourth-year head coach was disappointed in his team’s inability to move the ball across the plain.

“I remember one of them was route miscommunication,” Glisson said. “So it wasn’t all the quarterback’s fault. But yeah, they hurt. We had a chance to put some points on the board and we didn’t.”

Nix and the Red Devils capitalized on every opportunity presented to them. By the end of the first half, Central had posted 21 additional points via a pair of passing touchdowns and a 92-yard touchdown rush from senior running back Jordan Moultrie. Smiths Station trailed 35-0 heading into the locker room.

Little surprise to most, the tale of the second half proved to be nearly identical to the first. Central continued to keep its foot on the gas and picked up right where it left off. After a pair of traded possessions, Nix tossed his fourth touchdown pass nine minutes into the third quarter.

From there, the Red Devils poured it on with a pair of rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter, pushing their lead to 56 points, a score which would hold until the conclusion of the game.

The leader of the black and silver spoke songs of praise for his opponents following the defeat, claiming that his team simply got outplayed.

“They won,” Glisson said. “It wasn’t that Smiths Station lost, they won and we’ve got to focus on us. We’ve got to get better and get back to work on Sunday.”

The head coach also noted that the talent on the Red Devils’ roster poses a threat to any squad in the state.

“Central — from what I’ve seen this year — they’re the best team in the state,” Glisson said. “I don’t see any doubt. They are loaded.”

With the loss now behind them, the Panthers now direct their attention to next week’s opponent: Prattville.

“We got to focus on us,” Glisson said. “We’ve got to get better, focus and get ready for Prattville next week.

Smiths Station will travel to Prattville (2-1, with a 20-14 loss to Auburn last week) on Friday, Sept. 10, when the Lions play host to the now 1-2 Panthers. Kickoff between the regional foes is set for 7 p.m. CST.

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