By Jon Robert Page
WELLBORN — This past Friday, the 4-1 Hamilton Aggies made the long journey to the 1-3 Wellborn Panthers to fight it out on the gridiron. The Aggies were looking to bounce back from their loss last week against the Northside Rams, but the Panthers had winning plans of their own. After four grueling quarters, the Panthers emerged victorious by a score of 52-14.
The Aggies received the ball to start the game, but this offered no advantage as the Panthers recovered a fumble on the second play of the drive. Wellborn pounced on this opportunity, as they rushed all the way to a touchdown with 7:56 left in the first quarter. A missed PAT followed the score, and with it, the Panthers took the first lead of the game 6-0.
An empty Aggie drive was followed by another run-dominated possession by the Panthers. This ground attack was capped off with five minutes left in the first stanza through a 48-yard touchdown and a successful two-point conversion to stretch the lead to 14-0.
The Panthers regained possession after a fourth-down stop and with it, they went right back to work. The Wellborn offense marched down the field, setting up the first Panther pass of the game. This air raid took the Aggie secondary off guard, as the Panthers threw a completion over the defense into another score with a 22-yard completion. The PAT split the uprights as the score increased to 21-0 right before the start of the second quarter.
The Panthers killed yet another Aggie drive before jumping to the races. The Panthers went straight to the Aggie 24 before dialing up another pass, this time resulting in another touchdown with still 11 minutes before halftime. The following kick was blocked, and the score stayed at the total of 27-0.
Matthew Coleman couldn’t bear to see his Aggies scoreless anymore as the Panthers forced another fourth-down situation. With 9:29 left in the second stanza, Coleman ripped past the defensive front, taking the quarterback keeper 49-yards for a Hamilton score. A good PAT cut the lead to 27-7.
The Panthers were not pleased with any chance of an Aggie comeback, as they produced 25 and 46-yard plays in a three-play scoring drive. The Hamilton defense did stop the two-point conversion though, and with 8:01 left in the second quarter, the Panthers grew the lead yet again to produce a score of 33-7.
On the third play of the drive and 2:30 left before the halftime break, Xavier Parker performed a 61-yard dash past the Aggie defense to pile on to the new score of 39-7.
The Hamilton offense went on the field with a sense of urgency. First downs were piled onto each other, and an 18-yard completion to Demichael Pickett set the Aggies in prime position to score on the Panther four.
With 4.5 seconds until the half, Matthew Coleman slipped right past the Panther defense for his second rushing touchdown on the night. Thomas Angel’s kick found the middle of the posts as the Panthers’ lead was minimized to a score of 39-14.
The Wellborn offense was given possession to kick off the second half, and with it began the long process of melting the clock. By doing this they punched another touchdown through the Aggie defense. With 9:20 left in the third and a killed two-point conversion, the score jumped again to 45-14.
After another empty drive, the Aggies punted possession back to the Wellborn offense. The Panthers were relentless in their attack, punching a 28-yard rush past the goal line for a touchdown to start the fourth quarter. The Aggies and Panthers traded possessions before the clock struck zero, securing the Panthers’ win. The now 2-3 Wellborn Panthers will make the trip to the 0-5 Glencoe Yellowjackets, while the 4-2 Hamilton Aggies will travel to continue their storied rivalry with the 2-4 Haleyville Lions.
See complete story in the Journal Record.