By Morgan Bryce
After enduring a shutout last year, Smiths Station managed to post two touchdowns in a 35-14 loss to region rival Auburn last Friday night at Panther Stadium.
Auburn drew first blood, as Tiger quarterback J.T. Rogers connected with receiver Kameron Ingram for a 21-yard touchdown strike.
With Auburn leading 7-0 for most of the first quarter, Smiths Station finally answered with a fumble recovery by its defense, setting up their offense with the ball at the Tigers’ 46-yard line.
Relying on its run-heavy offense, the Panthers marched down the field, capping it off with a beautiful 16-yard TD pass from junior Smiths Station quarterback Corey Minton to receiver Ahmari Peabody.
Both teams’ defenses settled in for the end of the first and most of the second quarter. With five minutes left in the first half, Auburn found the end zone once again through the air, as Rogers hit junior receiver Joey Futrell in stride for a 26-yard TD.
The wheels fell off for Smiths Station, giving up a score on a blocked punt and short TD pass off an abbreviated drive near the end of the first half.
Trailing 28-7, Smiths Station’s chances of making it interesting against their region foe evaporated.
Auburn running back Danie Clark scored his team’s last points of the evening on a three-yard TD run with seven minutes left in the third quarter.
Smiths Station’s final score of the night came on an eight-yard rushing score from backup quarterback Jacob Blackmon, cutting the Tiger lead to 21 points.
Offensively, Smiths Station finished with 79 yards of total offense. Both Panther quarterbacks combined to complete 9-of-18 passes for 71 yards and a TD.
Sacks and tackles for loss bogged the rushing statistics, but L.C. Harris was the Panther’s leading rusher on the night, compiling 20 yards on seven carries. Overall, Smiths Station ended with eight total rushing yards.
No defensive or special teams stats were available for this game.
With the loss, Smiths Station falls to 2-6 overall, 0-5 in region play.
Following a bye this Friday, the Panthers travel to Prattville to take on the Lions on Oct. 25, who are 6-1 following a 44-7 thrashing of Jefferson Davis last week.
Smiths Station’s regular season finale will be at home at Panther Stadium against Eufaula on Nov. 1.