Mother Nature remained undefeated.
Three days after Friday night’s season-opening matchup between the West Gadsden Panthers and FAMU was suspended due to lightening and eventual rain, the game again fell victim to inclement weather.
With 6:11 left to play in the fourth quarter and West Gadsden leading 24-0, Monday’s Labor Day contest was suspended and eventually called, resulting in a Panthers victory.
The victory was Joey Striplin’s first as the Panthers’ head coach.
“I’ve never been in that situation before,” Striplin said of the suspended game.
“Leading up to this game, we’ve been talking to the kids about adversity, overcoming adversity in life and on the football field, and this was a big example of having to persevere through something.”
West Gadsden persevered.
Led by the 15-carry, 120-yard performance of junior running back Antonio Murphy, the Panthers accumulated over 300 yards of total offense in three-and-a-half quarters.
The diminutive running back’s final carry was a weaving 41-yard touchdown run, during which Murphy made multiple defenders miss.
“I try to work on my footwork all the time. I’m small; gotta do something to get them off of you”
Of course, there can be no shutout without a solid defensive performance.
“They bailed us out about three or four times,” Striplin said of his defense.
“We turned the ball over three times inside the 10 yard line, and the defense stepped up. They did a great job.”
Both teams will need to regroup and prepare for their respective games this Friday on a short week.
“We’ve got a tough Blountstown team this Friday,” FAMU head coach Ira Reynolds said. “You transition from playing (Monday) to getting ready for Friday. That’s the challenge.”
DeMatha Catholic 26, Godby 9
Godby coach Ronnie Cottrell knew his team would be in trouble if it fell behind nationally-ranked DeMatha Catholic on Monday.
Cottrell was right.
A slow start doomed the Cougars as they dropped a 26-9 decision to DeMatha Catholic at Byrd Stadium on the campus of the University of Maryland.
The nationally-televised game on ESPN was part of the inaugural Under Armour Brothers in Arms Football Classic.
“DeMatha is a tremendous football team, and they were able to impose their will on us because of the mistakes we made,” Cottrell said.
“I knew if we got behind these guys and if they could run the ball and grind it out, it could be a very difficult game for us and it was.”
The Cougars’ offense never could find its rhythm.
Quarterback J.T. Bradwell completed 9 of 18 passes for 90 yards with two interceptions and a lost fumble. Godby also finished with just 59 rushing yards.
The Cougars’ lone scores came on a 31-yard field goal from Logan Roberts and a 90-yard kickoff return late in the game from Kenny Young.
Godby has a quick turnaround as it embarked on its 14-hour return bus ride to Tallahassee on Monday night. The Cougars are at Chiles on Friday.
Despite his team’s struggles, Cottrell was thankful his team had the chance to play DeMatha (2-0). The Cougars, who have played seven consecutive road games dating back to last season’s state-title run, opened in Tampa two weeks ago with a victory over Tampa Plant.
“It was a tremendous event for us to be involved in,” Cottrell said of the Brothers in Arms Football Classic.
“The kids played hard and never quit. Hopefully, we can learn from this game. I wish I would have done a better job preparing for this game.”