HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Running back Carlin Long scored three touchdowns as the Huntsville Panthers won a 28-24 win over Bob Jones in a big Class 7A, Region 4 victory at Madison City Schools Stadium on Thursday night. Most of the game went back and forth, but Huntsville (2-2, 2-1) pulled it out late.
Long had the big night running the football as he had 199 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns. "This is a big win for us; I'm so glad we could pull this out," said Panthers running back Long. "I didn't know I could go back in late in the game due to cramping up, but once I saw that we had a chance, I just had to suck it up and get back in with my teammates. We just kept fighting, we came in with a different game plan, and it made a difference tonight."
Bob Jones (3-2, 2-1) scored first in the game with 3:15 left in the first quarter when Braden Sinn kicked a 26-yard field goal, and the Patriots took an early 3-0 lead. Huntsville answered right back with 2:05 in the first quarter when Long ripped off our QB Country "Play of the Game" when he went for a 66-yard touchdown run, and the Panthers took a 7-3 lead. Wide receiver Amaree Jabbar and tight end Alexander Moore made big blocks on the left end to spring Long for the long touchdown.
With 11:13 left in the second quarter, Bob Jones scored again on a Dylan Willingham to KJ Fields 22-yard slant pass play, and the Patriots took the lead back at 10-7 early in the second quarter. With 5:56 left in the second quarter, Huntsville came right back with a score. Long scored on a 36-yard touchdown run, and the Panthers took the lead late in the quarter.
Late in the first half, quarterback Rayshawn Hardy moved to defensive back, picked off a Panthers pass, and returned it deep into Huntsville territory. A few plays later, Willingham found Hardy wide open on the left side of the field, and Hardy scored on a 15-yard touchdown pass with 1:34 left in half. The Patriots took back a 17-14 lead late in the quarter with the score.
Huntsville moved the ball down the field on a few plays and a good kickoff return, and they were trying to get the last score before halftime. With only :25 seconds left in the half, quarterback Jacks Mcclung rolled out and ran into the end zone on a 5-yard touchdown run, and the Panthers took back a 21-17 lead into halftime. "We needed this, but give credit to our assistant coaches and players after we lost last week at the end of the game," said Panthers head coach Mark Fleetwood. "It is easy to say we need to respond, but kids came back last Sunday night and were ready to go. We did enough to win. We made the plays that counted. We needed this win."
In the second half, both defenses made some changes and steadied the course as both teams only gave up one score each in the second half. In the fourth quarter, defensive back Jordan Morrison picked off a Huntsville pass and ran into Panthers territory, and the Patriots offense took advantage of it. A few plays later, with 4:19 left in the fourth quarter, Rowan Jones scored on a 1-yard touchdown run, and Bob Jones took back the lead at 24-21.
Huntsville took the ball at midfield, and a big Cade Cole reception took the ball deep into the Patriots territory. With only 1:34 left in the game, Long scored his third touchdown run, and the Panthers took a 28-24 lead late. "Carlin is so good," added Fleetwood. "But better than the type of person he is, he comes into my office before practice, sits down, and asks me how I can get better today. What a player."
Bob Jones took the kickoff, moved down the field, and moved inside Huntsville territory. On a fourth down play, linebacker Jerrell Goodlow met Hardy in the hole up the middle and stopped the Patriots just inches from a first down. The Patriots ran out the clock with the stop for the region win. "I felt like we wanted it more in the second half," said Goodlow. "This year, our mentality is a lot better, and we have worked hard to get a win like this. This means a lot for us to give us a chance for the playoffs and to change the culture of this team." Goodlow had 16 tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss, and was all over the field making plays. Along with the last stop of the game, he made another fourth-down stop to snuff out a Patriots drive earlier in the game.
Next, Huntsville will host Mae Jemison while Bob Jones has an open date.