By Wil Crews
On Thursday, The Smiths Station Panthers (3-4) were beaten at their own game – running the ball – as they lost 35-13 to the Enterprise Wildcats (5-2).
The Panther offensive line struggled to give the offense time all night and the typical ground-and-pound style of the Smiths offense was outmaneuvered by the motion-heavy and speedy offense of the Wildcats. In total, the Panthers had nine first downs and 224 total yards compared to Enterprise’s 22 first downs and 456 yards. The loss moves Smiths Station to 3-4 (0-2), and they remain at the bottom of the 7A Region 2 standings.
After a hard fought first half that was played in less-than-ideal sloppy conditions, the Panthers found themselves down 13-0. Smiths may have felt a little cheated by the scoreboard as both of Enterprise’s first-half scores were from unorthodox plays. The Wildcats’ first drive stalled and they faced a fourth-and-13 from the 29-yard line. On a play action, Enterprise quarterback Quentin Hayes rolled right, threw across his body to the middle of the end zone and the ball fell gently – and ever so nearly – over the diving Panther defender and into the grasp of the Wildcat receiver. The PAT was good, 7-0 Enterprise.
The second score came after a trick play gave Enterprise revitalized momentum. What looked like a handoff was actually a reverse pass for the Wildcats. The quarterback Hayes was running wild open down the sideline as he caught the pass as he was taken down at the 12-yard line. It was a good play to just stop the score. Still, the Wildcats were not to be denied. A big carry on first down and another power run… Enterprise had scored again with 2:20 left in the half. 13-0. Smiths got a first down on the next possession but failed to threaten before halftime.
Enterprise opened the scoring in the third quarter but the Panthers finally responded with points of their own – and in epic fashion. After an almost interception on third-and-one from the Smiths 21-yard line, the Panthers appeared to send out the punt unit. However, with quarterback Corey Minton – the team’s most effective runner this season – pulling double duty as punter – a role he’s occupied all year as well – head coach Mike Glisson had just the call hidden up his sleeve.
“And a fake punt, quarterbacks going to take it out across the 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 40 of the Wildcats and finally knocked out of bounds at the 30-yard line but a good fake and run by the quarterback Minton.”
The Smiths offense had the ball in realistic scoring position for the first time all night and four plays later Minton floated a pass to junior Cianan Williams for a 27-yard touchdown, cutting the lead to 21-7 with 5:07 left in the third quarter.
That’s as close as the Panthers would come however, as the two teams would then trade scores. Enterprise’s Josh Mccray had a spectacular touchdown on third-and-27 and Minton found his favorite target, Ahmari Peabody, for a 20-yard touchdown pass. Enterprise capped off the win with one more score late.
Minton and his receivers were the standouts for Smiths in the game. Peabody caught a touchdown and Williams had four receptions for 70 yards. Minton finished 7-15 passing for 88 yards and 11 carries for 47 yards.
Next week, Smiths (3-4) play undefeated Auburn at Duck Samford Stadium. The game is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. CST.