By JIM CROSS
LR NEWS CONTRIBUTOR
The Ashdown Panthers hosted the Malvern Leopards in a 74A conference match-up Friday night at Dick Hays Stadium.
The Panthers kept the game close early but were unable to corral Malvern’s super freshman quarterback Cedric Simmons, who had 5 total touchdowns with 4 rushing along with 279 total yards rushing and passing.
The Panthers took a 7 to 0 lead on a 6 yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Alex Keilbach to junior receiver Kameron Benton. The Panthers would score again with a Malvern fumble in their end zone after a great tackle by A.J. Hopkins and Vincent Jones with junior Rhys Parker recovering the fumble to give the Panthers a lead at 14 to 12 with 7:47 left in the second quarter.
This would be the last score of the night for the Panthers as defensively they played hard but were unable to contain Malvern quarterback Cedric Simmons. Offensively, Xavier Sanders had 95 yards rushing while the Sophomore Duo of Desmond Cornelius and Jaxon Jester had 9 total receptions.
Defensively, the Panthers were led by A.J. Hopkins, who had several dominating plays, and Carter Bowman, who was seemingly in every play. Cole Smith played well on both sides of the ball and he was named the Farm Bureau Player of the Game.
Coach Matt Richardson remains positive and spoke glowingly about the efforts of several players including A.J. Hopkins, who played hard every single play, and Carter Bowman, who had an exceptional week of practice along with guys like Alex Kelibach, Jaxon Jester, Desmond Cornelius and Kameron Benton, who are staying after practice working on their craft. Coach stated the team will have a great week of practice and get ready for Nashville.
The Panthers return to action Friday evening at 7 p.m. at Nashville as the Panthers battle the Scrappers.
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