Newton — A couple of bad breaks spoiled the Knoxville Panthers' 100th meeting with the Newton Cardinals Friday night, as the boys fell 42-28.
Newton opened the scoring with a touchdown on its first drive with 10:32 left in the first quarter to go up 7-0.
The Panthers answered right back on their first drive. Sophomore Jared McClung got the starting nod for Knoxville at quarterback. Using some trickery, McClung flicked the ball to last week's starter, Junior Tanner Dunkin. Dunkin was able to connect with Sophomore Ross Shelford for a 71-yard touchdown pass. Senior Gerrit Davis added the extra point to tie the game.
Davis, the injured regular starting quarterback, was perfect on extra point attempts. He also played defense while in a cast Friday night, and was in on six tackles, five of them solo.
Newton struck next with 2:42 left in the first quarter to lead 14-7 going into the second. On the Cardinals' first play from scrimmage in the quarter, Junior Ryan Morgan was able to pounce on a fumble to put the ball back into Knoxville's hands.
Knoxville had its own struggles with the ball on the ensuing drive, but after a few plays by the Newton offense, Senior Brandon Iddings picked up a fumble recovery of his own to bring the Panthers back onto the field.
McClung marched his team back down the field. On a fourth and two outside the goal line, Knoxville went for it. Dunkin ran it up the middle to tie the game at 14 all with 3:35 left in the half.
Newton was unable to answer. McClung and Dunkin connected to get the Panthers back into good position.
From the Newton 35, McClung slung the ball to his left to Sophomore Connor Bailey. Bailey ran it up the Panther sideline to put the team back on top 21-14 with 23.4 seconds left in the half.