Panthers lose to Highlanders
The Highlanders of Heathwood Hall paid a visit to the Lowcountry Friday night and came away with a convincing 39-19 victory over the Pinewood Panthers.
The Panthers were game for a half, hanging in with a 13-13 tie. In the second half, the Pinewood defense was worn down and the visitors scored on every drive but their last when the clock stopped them. The loss, which came on senior night, leaves the Panthers at 1-6 for the season.
“Senior night is always special for the kids, I wish we could have put two halves together and get a win for them,” Pinewood coach Jody Kafina said, “We came out strong but could not sustain the momentum. We were without five starters again this week and that is very hard to overcome at any level. We will continue to get better amid adversity and become stronger people and players."
The evening began for the home team on a promising note. On their first drive, the Panthers punched it downfield for 69 yards for a score. TJ Wilson carried five times on the drive including the touchdown on a three-yard plunge. The key play of the drive was a 36-yard reception by Johnny O'Shaughnessy of a Bobby Casey pass. The extra point failed but the Panthers had a lead.
Heathwood replied on its third drive of the night with a 43- yard drive on three straight carries by Joe Thompson. The extra point gave the visitors a slim margin they would never relinquish.
Pinewood came back strongly on the ensuing possession, starting on its own 22 and moving steadily to the Heathwood 40. There, disaster struck in the form of a Panther fumble that was covered by the visitors. Heathwood quickly converted the miscue into a 55-yard score.
The Panthers refused to say "uncle." After an exchange of punts, the home team took over on its own 18 and, in a 13-play drive, forced the ball down to the Highlander 23. With the drive stalled the Panthers went for the field goal, but the drive was extended with a Highlander penalty on the kick.
The Panthers quickly made the Highlanders pay, with Wilson scoring on a three-yard run.
Heathwood relentlessly crushed out the hopes of the Panther faithful in the second half by scoring on its next four drives.
With the score standing at 39-13, the Panthers struck back on their last possession. On the second play, Casey took the snap and connected with TJ Wilson, who eluded a number of defensive players on 58-yard score. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the final score at 39-19.
Wilson had a stellar night for the Panthers. He rushed 17 times for 61 yards and caught six passes for 135 yards. He scored all three Panther TDs, including one on a 58-yard pass reception. Casey went 14 for 22 for 228 yards and a TD. He also rushed six times for 25 yards. O'Shaughnessy caught a pass for 36 and Jarrett Londergan caught two for 21.
Joseph Bates turned in a gritty performance on defense with no fewer than 13 tackles. Alex Ruggerio added eight stops and Shareef Boddie had six. Zachary Latham and Jeremy Hunt both had five tackles.
Pinewood will travel to Columbia this Friday to take on Laurence Manning. Game time is 7:30 p.m.