You might say it was worth the wait.
When Friday’s Highlander game against the Mulberry Panthers got rescheduled for Monday night, the rain had the final say.
But Monday night, the Highlanders proved their talent in a 14-3 win over the Panthers.
Highlanders kicked off the ball and the Panther defense has come to play. The Panthers go three and out on their first possession to punt on fourth down. The Highlanders receive a short punt by the Panthers to gain yardage well inside of Panther territory. Justin Henderson had some nice carries on the series followed by a touchdown by Jonte Sergeant with a short run from first and goal to score on their first possession. Tate Matthewson’s kick is good for the extra-point.
The Panthers punt again from deep inside of their own territory. It was a short punt, but with enough of a roll nears the 50-yard line. In the Highlander’s next possession, a 20 yard pass by Railond Garrett was complete to Davi’on Riley for a first down on their first play from scrimmage. The Panthers go on to stop them on the series and the Highlanders will punt on 4th down. However, the Lake Wales defense is hot and forces a fumble on the Panthers. The Highlanders would get the ball back well inside of the 20-yard line. A timeout ends the 1st quarter with a score of 0-7, Lake Wales.
Second quarter action begins with the routine changing ends of the field. Lake Wales keeps it on the ground to get to the 2 yard-line to nearly get the first down but end up with 4th down and inches. Going for it on 4th down, Jonte Sergeant with a strong run up the middle scores a second Highlander touchdown. Tate Matthewson’s kick splits the uprights for the extra-point.
Jermel Moment, who plays defensive line for the Highlanders with a defensive stop on the Panthers’ offense behind the line of scrimmage. The Lake Wales defense doesn’t give a lot of room for the Panther offense to accomplish a lot offensively this evening. A quick series of downs for the Panthers and they punt again. Darion Staten, the ball-carrier on the return, picks up a few yards to give the Highlanders the ball inside the 40-yard line. However, the Highlanders would fumble, but recovered the ball. With rain over the area, the ball gets pretty slippery. The Panthers fumble and the Highlanders recover with a run back to the 30-yard line to give Lake Wales strong field position for yet another score.
With just over four-minutes to go in the half, Justin Henderson was dropped for a big loss on 3rd down to end the Highlanders touchdowns hopes for the series. This sets up a field-goal attempt by Matthewson. However, the wet and slippery condition caused him to slip on the attempt. This gives the Panthers the ball on their own 30 yard line.
A couple of quarterback keepers by Jarius Garner gives the Panthers field position beyond the 50 yard line before a fumble sends them backward another 10 yards. They recover with a 2nd down and 20. Unable to gain another first-down, the Panther’s punt it away with 44 seconds to go in the first-half. The Panther special teams go on to score a big play by tripping up Lake Wales’ Darion Staten deep at their own 30 yard line to end the half.
The Highlanders would receive to begin the 3rd quarter. A pass from Garrett would be intercepted by the Panthers. However, a fumble would give the ball back to the Highlanders at the 10 yard line. Lake Wales went three and out to punt on 4th down to give the Panthers the ball back on the Highlander 40 yard line. An unsuccessful 57 yard field-goal attempt was just short. Score remains 0-14, Lake Wales.
The Highlanders, unsuccessful on their next possession, punt it away. Special-teams defender Jermel Moment puts a huge hit on the Panthers punt returner to force a fumble that was recovered by Lake Wales. The Highlanders with great possession near the 10 yard line steadily advance the ball on the ground. With 3rd and 3, a five yard penalty on the offensive line sends them back near the 10. Railond Garrett was intercepted on the following play.
The Panthers returned the interception to the 45 yard line. A great running play from Panther running back Jerry Joyce added more than 10 yards. The 3rd quarter ends with the Panthers inside Lake Wales territory near the 45 yard line. The Panthers were unable to score on the series and punt it deep to give Lake Wales the ball on their own 2 yard line. Railond Garrett would pass to Dedric Brinson and the pass was fumbled due to a hard hit by the Panther defense.
The Panthers recover with great field position near the 10 yard line. Jerry Joyce is given several carries to give the Panthers a 4th and 10. Noe Guillen scores first for the Panthers with a field-goal that is good to bring the score to 3-14 Lake Wales.
The Highlanders come back at the Panthers’ defense with a running attack led by Justin Henderson and Earnest Hamilton to gain a series of first downs giving Lake Wales great field position before fumbling inside the 30 yard line. Mulberry recovers the fumble with just over 5 minutes to go in the 4th quarter. Lake Wales’ Jean Bendley was able to get a quarterback sack on Mulberry’s Austin Strickland. Mulberry now deep near their own goal-line before Strickland completes a 20 yard pass. On the next play, Strickland was again to the air across the middle before being intercepted by Highlander defensive back Marcus Walker.
Justin Henderson, with an 8 yard run up the middle, bulldozes the Panther defensive line. Lake Wales keeps it on the ground with Henderson getting most of the work to end the game. The final score was Panthers 3 and Lake Wales 14.