Jackson County’s Rich McWhorter was in no mood to discuss any positives after his team’s 20-17 loss to Morgan County Friday (Oct. 4). He knew his team had let a win slip away.
“We’re not tough enough to finish a football game like this,” McWhorter said.
Asked what positive performances he saw on the field, he wasn’t eager to say. The coach said his Panthers have a lot to work on.
“Got to look at the film,” he said. “I don’t know.”
After the two teams struggled to move the ball early, Jackson County (2-4) marched 87 yards, with Bo Reeves taking a 50-yard reception down to the Bulldog 37. Jackson County moved to the three-yard line on runs by Tyler Wester, but a procedure penalty killed the momentum and the Panthers settled for a 26-yard field goal from Ayden Griswold.
Morgan County (5-1) got on the board with 2:24 to go in the first quarter on a nine-yard pass from Trenton Folds to Jerrit Wyatt. The Bulldogs threw a 35-yard touchdown over the middle with 9:33 to go in the second quarter to Seth Robertson. A two-point conversion attempt failed and Morgan County carried a 13-3 lead into intermission.
The Bulldogs appeared poised to add to their lead, driving to the Panther 25, but an errant snap killed the drive. And Jackson County had a chance late to cut into the lead when Jonathan Steeb caught a short pass and went 17 yards to the Bulldog 43. The Panthers moved to the 30 yard line with just 33 seconds left in the half, but Morgan County picked off a pass on the six-yard line to hold on to a 13-3 halftime lead.
But Jackson County wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in the third quarter.
Jesse Whiting broke free up the middle for 37 yards to the Morgan County 30, then Wester rambled shortly after for a 21-yard touchdown run on fourth and one to cut the lead to 13-10 with 9:47 to go in the third quarter.
Morgan County picked off a Panther pass moments later and scored on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Folds to Wyatt with 7:11 to go in the third quarter.
Jackson County benefitted from a Bulldog miscue later in the quarter, when Brandon Fisher recovered a mishandled catch at midfield by the Morgan County punt returner.
Wester powered the Panthers down the field with first-down runs. He carried the ball three consecutive times on first and goal, but was held short, but he finally punched the ball in from one yard out on fourth-and-goal on the first play of the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to 20-17.
Jackson County was quickly in business again when Gabriel Lockridge intercepted a Folds pass on the Jackson County 34. And two Bulldog personal fouls soon moved the Panthers to the Bulldog 29. But the Panthers committed their own penalty and were forced to punt.
Jackson County had a final opportunity to win the game, needing 60 yards for a touchdown with 3:17 to go. But the Panthers couldn’t do anything offensively and a sack led to a turnover on downs. Morgan County then managed to run out the clock.
Jackson County will now prepare for Monroe Area, which comes to town Friday, Oct. 11.