The 3-A vs. 6-A matchup between the Carver-Atlanta Panthers and Lovejoy Wildcats did not disappoint in the second Great Atlanta Bash hosted at now Center-Parc Stadium at Georgia State (formerly known as Georgia State Stadium).
One point is what decided this game and surprisingly for the Panthers, it was due in part to special teams, something they thrived at all game.
The Panthers knew this was a must-win game after falling in the Corky Kell Classic to Cherokee 38-12 10 days ago. In order to get their first win of the season, they knew that it would be against a tough 6-A powerhouse in Lovejoy.
The Wildcats are off to a strong start this season after dominating Mundys Mill 38-7 last Friday. Although they had the confidence, swagger, and the upper hand, they knew it would be tough playing in a large crowd of Panthers fans in what is basically the backyard for the Panthers.
An early strong start proved to be beneficial for the Panthers as they lead 6-0 early in the first quarter.
Special teams were strong for the Panthers this game early on. Panthers returner Jarveous Brown took a punt 82 yards to the house, putting the Panthers ahead 12-0 with 9:03 to go in the second half.
The Wildcats finally found their offensive rhythm as quarterback Stephen Craig connected with receiver Keondre Haines on a 40 yard touchdown pass.
The Panthers went into halftime up 12-7.
As the Wildcats received the second-half kickoff, they answered quickly, this time on a fake field goal attempt. Craig found receiver Siian Crafton on a 14 yard touchdown pass. The Wildcats took their first lead of the game 13-12 with 6:45 left in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter proved to be the deciding factor for both teams, specifically on the offensive end.
The Panthers special teams answered the call again. This time Quintaveous Davis returned a punt 75 yards putting the Panthers back in the lead at 20-13.
The Wildcats answered this time Craig found receiver Antonio Jones on a 40-yard touchdown pass, bringing the Panthers lead down to one.
Craig was not finished though! On the ensuing offensive drive, he found his other receiver Quentavius Scandrett for 75-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion was successful putting the Wildcats in front 27-20.
The Panthers special teams were not done. This time Tobias Fletcher answered, taking the kickoff 87 yards to the house, giving the Panthers a chance to tie or regain the lead.
The two point conversion was unsuccessful as the Panthers fell 27-26.
The Panthers will seek their first regular-season win at Redan next Friday.