Defense lifts Panthers to win
By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor
For much of the season, the LaGrange College Panthers relied on a powerful offense to win games, or keep them competitive in the games they lost.
The past two weeks, though, it has been the LaGrange College defense rising to the occasion.
Last week, the Panthers allowed a season-low 13 points, but they only scored 10 points themselves in a 13-10 loss to Christopher Newport.
On Saturday against Ferrum (Va.), the Panthers once again only scored 10 points, but this time that was enough to secure the victory thanks to another terrific performance from the defense, including senior linebacker Andre Carter, who had 15 tackles, including three for loss.
Ferrum was limited to a second-quarter field goal, and LaGrange College scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter to claim a 10-3 victory.
It was the first victory for head coach Matt Mumme, who took over for Todd Mooney before the Christopher Newport game.
The Panthers improved to 4-5 overall and 4-3 in the USA South, and they’ll have a chance to finish the season at .500 with a win over Averett (Va.) next week.
The Panthers were locked in a 3-3 tie with Ferrum when they broke the deadlock with a 10-play, 65-yard touchdown drive.
The Panthers’ previous two drives ended with a missed field goal, and a fumble inside the Ferrum 5-yard line.
When the Panthers got the ball on their own 35-yard line with 7:22 remaining, though, they finally found their way into the end zone.
Quarterback Graham Craig completed all seven of his pass attempts on the drive, including a 5-yard completion to Marsalis Jackson for the touchdown with a little more than three minutes remaining.
Ferrum made it to the Panthers’ 30-yard line on its ensuing possession, but Tyler Johnson made the tackle on fourth-and-one short of the first-down marker.
Ferrum got the ball one final time near midfield, and there was time for one play, and Brandon Penn came up with the interception to end the suspense.
LaGrange’s other points came on a Will Jeffcoat 22-yard field goal that capped a 13-play, 80-yard drive in the first quarter.
Ferrum’s Wesley Franklin made a 30-yard field goal with 30 seconds left in the half to tie it.
Craig completed 24-of-44 passes for 214 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, and Jackson had seven catches for 56 yards with the touchdown.
Marquius Young headlined the running game with 82 yards on 15 attempts.
On defense, while Carter led the way with his 15 tackles, freshman linebacker Jordan Chambers had eight tackles.
Johnson had six tackles, and three of those were behind the line of scrimmage.
Scott Chewning and Penn both had interceptions.
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