SETH – The Sherman Tide gave up three touchdowns in the second quarter and could never recover as they fell to the Tug Valley Panthers, 26-6, in the season opener for both teams on Friday at Zontini Field.
After both offenses struggled early, the Panthers (1-0) went on an 11-play drive that spanned 95 yards and was finished off by a 1-yard touchdown plunge from Phillip Lucas with eight seconds left in the period. Tug Valley quarterback Mikey Newsome then found David Runyon in the end zone for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 Panther lead after the first quarter.
The Tide (0-1) began the second period with a failed drive but appeared to have caught a break when the ensuing punt appeared to have possibly touched a Tug Valley player. The Tide pounced on the ball at the 1-yard-line, but the officials determined that the Panthers’ Runyon had not touched the ball and awarded the ball to Tug Valley.
“Those things happen,” said Sherman head coach Shann Elkins. “If we have the ball on the 1-yard-line, I think we score, but I think we got a little down. We then had an offside penalty that gave them a little room to work with. We had some mental lapses and need to clean that up.”
The Panthers took advantage of the situation and responded with a 99-yard touchdown drive that was highlighted by a 21-yard pass from Newsome to Ryan Preece on a huge third down and long conversion. Newsome then connected with Aaron Muncy in the flats on the next play and he rumbled into the end zone from 20 yards out with 6:23 left in the first half. The Tide defense held on the conversion attempt, and Tug Valley took a 14-0 lead.
Things didn’t get any better for Sherman as it lost a fumble on its first play from scrimmage on the ensuing drive, giving Tug Valley the ball at the Tide’s 43-yard-line. The Panthers capitalized by covering the distance on the ground and extended their lead when Jessie Mays scored after going around the left end from six yards out with 3:43 remaining in the second period. Tug Valley failed on the conversion attempt but still led 20-0.
The Panthers punched the ball into the end zone one final time before the end of the half, as Mays scampered in from 19 yards out with 1:23 left before halftime to make it a 26-0 advantage.
“We just laid down during that eight minute span,” said Elkins. “We have to learn to play all four quarters. We haven’t had a good week mentally yet, and we need to work on that.”
Tug Valley head coach Tony Clusky was pleased with how his squad executed in the first half.
“I thought we did a pretty good job,” he said. “I thought all our running backs ran hard, and I thought our offensive line looked better. That’s what we were looking for. We’re satisfied right now, but we know we still have a lot of work to do.”
Neither team was able to score in the third frame with the Tide only having three offensive plays. However, Sherman finally got its offense going with a 10-play drive that covered 89 yards and was capped off with a 2-yard touchdown run from Justin Clark with 6:58 remaining.
Quarterback Braden Harrah was 5-for-5 on the drive, including a 24-yard pass to Tait Pauley, setting up the score. The conversion pass failed, and neither team mounted a scoring drive for the rest of the game.
Clark led the Tide with 62 yards rushing on 19 attempts, including Sherman’s only touchdown. Harrah completed 7-of-10 passes for 57 yards. Tyler Stewart connected on 1-of-4 pass attempts for 20 yards. Tait Pauley hauled in four receptions for 58 yards. Adam Pauley had three catches for 13 yards. Aaron Lowe finished with one reception for six yards. The Tide finished with 126 yards of total offense.
The Panthers were led by Mays who had 156 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. He also had 11 yards on one reception. Muncy finished with 63 yards on attempts and also had one 20-yard touchdown catch. Newsome completed 5-of-10 passes for 111 yards. Tug Valley recorded 393 yards of total offense.
Sherman will look to rebound on Friday when it plays the Calhoun County Red Devils on the road.
“I expect our kids to work hard,” said Elkins. “We will have to play well. I’m sure Calhoun County will be ready for their home-opener.”
The kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m., at Calhoun County High School.
Tug Valley (1-0) … 8 18 0 0 - 26
Sherman (0-1) ….. 0 0 0 6 – 6
TV – 0:08 – Phillip Lucas – 1 yard run (Conversion pass completed – Mikey Newsome to David Runyon)
Tug Valley 8, Sherman 0
TV – 6:23 – Aaron Muncy – 20 yard reception from Mikey Newsome (Conversion Run Failed)
Tug Valley 14, Sherman 0
TV – 3:43 – Jessie Mays – 6 yard run (Conversion Pass Failed)
Tug Valley 20, Sherman 0
TV – 1:23 – Jessie Mays – 19 yard run (Conversion Pass Failed)
Tug Valley 26, Sherman 0
Sherman – 6:58 – Justin Clark - 2 yard run (Conversion Pass Failed)
Tug Valley 26, Sherman 6