By JIM CROSS
LR News Contributor
The Panthers went on the road Friday night with a difficult test of playing the two-time defending state champs, the Arkadelphia Badgers. The Panthers started quick right out of the gate with a 71-yard touchdown drive to put them up 7 to 0.
The drive was highlighted by some pinpoint passing by Alex Keilbach along with nice catches of 26 yards by Jaxon Jester and 38 yards by Desmond Cornelius. The offensive line led by Cole Smith, Alex and Joe Paredes, Dillon Reed and Vincent Jones held the powerful defensive line of the Badgers at bay, giving Keilbach time to throw.
The drive was culminated by a 2-yard pass from Jaxon Jester to Kameron Benton. The Badgers, led by 20 seniors and running back Kyren Harrison, scored the next seven touchdowns to put the game out of each.
The Panthers battled to the very last play by being knocked out of bounds at the one-yard line but were unable to punch it in. Defensively, the Panthers were led by Farm Bureau Player of the game, Kameron Benton, and Vincent Jones while Cole Spigner and Javon Hart came off the bench to provide a second-half spark.
The coaches and players remain positive. Head Coach Matt Richardson appreciates the senior leadership but is also excited about the effort of some of the young players. Line Coach Joe Baker was quick to point out the consistent play of offensive lineman Alex Paredes, who consistently gives a great effort in practice, which translates to Friday nights.
Friday night will be the last home game for the outstanding senior class: Anthony Hopkins, Brett Bond, Cole Smith, Carter Bowman, Joe Paredes, Delrae Smith, Jordan Rives, Kevin Starks, Logan Russell, Christian Biddle and Dakota Delozier. Come out Friday night at 7 p.m. as the Panthers host the Joe T. Robinson Senators, and give the seniors one last round of applause.
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