Friday, September 8, 2017
North Crowley High School
Another Friday night, another evening filled with Texas High School football. The North Crowley Panthers hosted the L.D. Bell Raiders in our 2nd home game on the young season. The contest was highly competitive throughout, yet costly mistakes at in opportunistic times caused the Panthers to fall 36-43. The NoCro Panthers would open the game on offense and not waste any time putting an efficient 6 min drive together capped by the Leake to Jones duo for the opening score. From that point through out the entirety of the contest, it was game on. L.D. Bell would respond by taking a similar drive of their own down the field scoring a TD as well making the score 7-6 L.D. Bell closing out the first frame. Our offense would respond once again and punch the Leake to Jones connection for their 6th combined TD on the young season. We would subsequently complete the two point conversion attempt to make the score 14-7. The 2nd quarter would prove to be a greater test as our own demise and lack of unison on defense would enable the L.D. Bell Raiders to stay in the game and not enable us to pull away from them in the 2nd quarter. Alignment mistakes, execution mistakes and uncertainty in assigned jobs on the playing field haunted us as the defense struggled to stop L.D. Bell’s offense outside of one drive and a 4th down stop when Jr. LB-Jairus Kennedy struck the opposing RB in the backfield for a 3yd loss. A huge play that would help the N. Crowley Panthers retake the lead when the Leake to Jones connection made it happen for the 3rd time in the half on yet another TD pass. Going for two, Sr. Julian Jones would prance into the left corner of the end zone after a broken down play caused the stellar Sr. to improvise to make things happen. Pushing the score to 22-21 Panthers at the break.
The 2nd half would prove to be the same as we could never get our claws into the L.D. Bell Raiders as they would take the opening drive of the 2nd half and score retaking the lead with a 28-22 score. However, this is a team sport and the offense would continue to hold there own. Jr. stud QB-Caleb Leake would plunge in from the one yard line to help the No Cro Panthers retake the lead and take a 30-28 advantage going into the 4th quarter. Yet, the 4th quarter would truly turn out to be our demise as we self imploded and didn’t seize opportunities on special teams to blow the game open and secure a victory. Three turnovers occurred in the 4th quarter in which 3 costly fumbles resulted in back to back scores that gave the Raiders a two possession lead with less than 9 minutes to play in the final frame. Sr. RB-Jailen Robinson would score our final TD of the night on a 32yd TD run in which WR-Julian Jones escorted him down the right sideline with an awesome block securing his path for the score. Although the N. Crowley Panthers came up short in this contest…there was a blessing in this lesson and several positives that came from this game that will set us up for success for the rest of this season.
Offensively, their stellar play continues to be an extremely bright spark for this team. The offensive line is, “steady mobbin”, securing great passing pockets and running lanes for the explosive NoCro skill players. Sr’s. OC-Clay Mitchell, OG-Lezra Dews and Jr. OT-Tyler Smith continue to be dominant up front. Sr. OT-Blake Jones has picked up his play as well as he seems to be getting his “shoe in” along the offensive line. Caleb Leake and Julian Jones…one word, SPECTACULAR!!! On the season thus far Jr. QB-Caleb Leake has accounted for 10 TD’s and most impressive…no turnovers. On the night Leake was 21-25 for 243yds and 3 TD’s. Sr. WR-Julian Jones was awesome on the night as he secured 10 catches for 163yds and 3 TD’s. As a result, Jones has completely re-written the record books at NoCro as he is now the official all time school leader in receptions, TD’s and yards. Sr. WR-Mark Bailey has been a steady contributor as well as he accounted for 6 catches for 42yds on the night. And Sr. RB-Jailen Robinson has been very effective as well having back to back 100yd games on the ground. On the night, Robinson only had 10 touches for 121yds and 1 TD.
Defensively, the maturation and growth process for this unit is in its building stages. However, there are young men who are playing well week to week so far this season. Jr. DT-Kelton Davis had another solid outing as he tallied 9 tackles. Sr. LB-Mark Shelton plugged in 11 tackles, and 1 TFL. Sr’s DE-Jaylan Sharp held steady as he contributed 7 tackles and DE-Kearis Thompson brought 5 tackles and 1 TFL. However the performance of the night went to Sr. CB-Michael Minor who had 8 tackles, 2TFL’s and 1 INT making his imprint on the game.
Next week, the N. Crowley Panthers will travel to Cleburne to play in our 1st road game of the season as we’ll take on the Yellow Jackets. As we look to bounce back, the young men of N. Crowley will refocus, rewire and truly get back to what we do and focus on the next task at hand. We definitely don’t like losing, however with the right application…the fire and motivation from this loss will be a spring board for all the goals, dreams and GREAT hopes that the NoCro Panthers have set out for this season. Until next week, happy hunting, Go NoCro and God Bless!