ON THE surface it was a big region win. It could end up serving as a defining moment in Panther lore, however.
Jackson County’s Ben Brissey caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Daniel with 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter to lift the Panthers to a 32-29 win in a thriller Friday on the road at Franklin County.
“That was a big confidence boost — that game right there,” Brissey said. “It gives us a push into the next week to see what we can do and it showed us that we can play with some people.”
Brissey said the scoring play was identical to one the Panthers ran previously on that drive.
“We ran it again … I looked for the ball and saw it and caught it,” Brissey said. “It was a good feeling.”
Jackson County will have this week off before facing Hart County on the road Oct. 19.
Coach Benji Harrison — whose team scored 26 points in the second half— said this was a special win.
“I think the way we won that game can go a long way toward this season and the future,” Harrison said. “Just to get down and never say quit.”
Making the win all the more dramatic was that the visiting Panthers (4-2, 2-1) engineered the game-winning drive with just 1:29 left after falling behind 29-25 in this seesaw affair.
Daniel said he had confidence in his offense.
“Franklin scored with a minute and a half left, and I looked up and said our offense is too good for them to hold us for a minute and a half,” he said.
Daniel threw for a school-record 395 yards and four touchdowns (see page 3B for a related story) in this victory. His touchdown passes went to four different receivers — Harper on a 65-yard screen pass, Layson Giles (35 yards), Dustin Scott (seven yards) and the Brissey for the game winning score.
“Those are the kind of things that as a kid, especially as a quarterback, you grow up thinking about those moments,” Daniel said of the game-winning touch
down. “To be able to share than moment with Ben — who I’ve been friends with for years now — it was great.”
Brissey finished with seven receptions for 117 yards.
“That’s my first time having 100 yards receiving,” Brissey said. “That was pretty good. It gave me an opportunity to show me what I can do, and it felt pretty good.”
Xavier Harper had a huge night as well with seven catches for 168 yards.
Not to be outdone, Scott rolled up 150 yards on 18 carries. He had a 15-yard rushing touchdown, which gave Jackson County a 25-22 lead with 7:14 left in the game.
Jackson County rang up a season-high 579 yards of total offense.
“I thought it was the best night we’ve had offensively, I thought, against a good football team,” Harrison said. “It was big. It was a big win for our program.”
Daniel gave credit to his offensive line for giving him plenty of protection.
“Looking back at the film, I realized how much time I actually had,” he said. “You kind of realize and understand during the game, ‘hey, I’m not getting hit as much,’ but then really looking back over the film this weekend Monday with the team, I realized they played great.”
With the victory, Jackson County got back above the .500 mark in 8-AA play before heading to Hart County in two weeks.
The Panthers have also surpassed their win total from last year. With a 4-2 record, Jackson County is off to its best start in 20 years.
“It was a good stand in our region,” Brissey said. “We really needed that win … Hart County is going to be a really, really good game. They’re really fast.”
Harrison also spoke of the region ramifications.
“This was a big win for the region,” he said. “We felt like this was a game we had to win. Our goal hasn’t changed. We want to get to the playoffs.”
Jackson County does get two weeks to transition from the wild win. The Panthers, who are nursing some injuries, are thankful for the downtime.
“After an emotional win like that, I think it’s always good to have an open week,” Harrison said. “I joked with some of the coaches afterward that it couldn’t come at a better time.”
Jackson County will use the off week to scout Hart County’s game this Friday and start reviewing film. While game-planning will start this week, it is more a time for taking care of details.
“Really, this week to us, is a lot more about us and continuing to get better ourselves,” Harrison said.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
The author does not allow comments to this entry