By Morgan Bryce
Smiths Station’s road woes in Montgomery continued Thursday night as the Jefferson Davis Volunteers shellacked the Panthers 31-14.
The Panthers’ prospects seemed promising on the first drive, as the offense drove quickly down the field. However, junior quarterback Corey Minton coughed up the ball on a fourth-and-goal play from the Volunteer 10-yard line to give Jefferson Davis a momentum that they would never relinquish.
On the ensuing drive, freshman Jefferson Davis quarterback Chase Ford connected on a 66-yard pass play to senior wide receiver Tavares Wommack. Three plays later, Ford scanned the field and dropped a dime to running back Rance Lee for their squad’s first score of the night.
The next few series saw both teams give solid defensive effort. Following a short punt in the midway point of the second quarter, however, Jefferson Davis capitalized on great field possession, capped with a 19-yard Ford TD pass to tight end Stacy Crockett.
Smiths Station had a chance to score before half but squandered it on an intentional grounding call.
Entering the second half with a 14-0 lead, Jefferson Davis allowed the Smiths Station defense to provide them with free yardage to move down the field on their first drive, as the Panthers committed two late-hit penalties on Ford. After two unsuccessful first-half tries, Volunteer kicker Juan Cardenas atoned for those mistakes with a 37-yard field goal that would split the uprights, giving Jefferson Davis a 17-0 lead.
An interception by the Smiths Station defense helped spark the Panthers’ first scoring drive. Senior running back Jara Nelms busted off a big run, enabling fellow senior L.C. Harris to score from the three-yard line.
The Panthers would recover an onside kick, but the Volunteer defense held on four consecutive downs to return possession of the ball back to their defense.
Following two explosive plays from the Volunteer offense, Ford connected with senior wide receiver Ronald Summage on an 11-yard screen pass for a TD and to extend their lead to 17 points.
Leading 24-7 early in the fourth, freshman running back Dewontay Peterson salted Smiths Station away with a 74-yard TD run to help extend his team’s lead to four scores and put it out of reach.
With 1:47 left in the game, Minton scored on a short TD run to carve into the Volunteer lead and set up the 31-14 final score from the Cramton Bowl.
Offensively, Smiths Station finished with nearly 260 yards of total offense. They were led by Nelms’ 76 yards on 11 carries and Cianan Williams’ four receptions for 42 yards. Minton finished with slightly more than 100 yards passing but did throw an interception.
Coach Mike Glisson, who helped guide the team to a winning season in his first year with the team, expressed his frustrations with his team’s and coaching staff’s performance in a post-game interview on Mix 96.7 FM.
“This is the first time I think we didn’t put forth our best effort, and I don’t know why,” Glisson said.
No defensive or special team stats were provided for this game.
With the loss, the Panthers fall to 2-5 overall, 0-4 in region play. This Friday, they will host 4-2 overall Auburn, who is fresh off a bye week. Their last contest was against the Minor Tigers, whom they defeated 49-20.
Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. E.S.T. Panther Stadium is located behind Smiths Station Baptist Church at 2460 Lee Road 430.