Panthers run past Heritage
By Darren Dunlap | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Lenoir City Panthers overwhelmed the Heritage Mountaineers on Thursday in a District 4-AAA rout, 41-13 at Heritage.
The Lenoir City offense churned out most of its offense on the ground, but stretched Heritage with its passing game and versatile quarterback, Jordan Hall.
Coach Tim Hammontree liked his team’s no-quit attitude despite the stifling heat and a tough Lenoir City defense.
“Well, we’re in a temperature like it is now, and the humidity is high and there’s no breeze, and we’re playing a lot of guys both ways — 7 and 8 both ways — we’re asking them to do stuff in 6A football that’s really a stretch,” he said. “But when we’re talking to them about their successes, they are having those.
“There are small ones: we see them. Most fans wouldn’t see them. We see people make blocks that they haven’t made before. We see people step in the right direction when they haven’t been doing it before. It’s a process that we’re going through.”
Lenoir City (3-0, 1-0 District 4-AAA) scored early and often, rolling up 27 points in the first quarter. Following Hall’s 29-yard keeper, Heritage quarterback Jake Olvey threw an interception and Jordan Willis ran it back 30 yards to the Mountaineers’ 36.
The Panthers followed up with Lucas Hamilton’s 18-yard touchdown reception, with Dakota Vincil missing his only PAT of the night.
Lenoir City finished the half with three of its five TDs on the ground and 220 yards rushing at the half.
Hall went 5 of 6 for 71 yards and Lenoir City brought in back-up quarterback Chris Roe for the second half.
“They have a couple of people in the ball game that are exceptional, and defensively they’re playing better than most of the teams we’ve played til now. Jefferson County had a strong defense, and we’ve had an opportunity to try to open it up and throw,” said Hammontree. “We’re not as good at blocking as we should be so the running game is a little bit in between.”
The Mountaineers took advantage of Lenoir City’s second-string defense in the fourth quarter to score twice.
Je’rell Bledsoe broke free for a 48-yard run to set up the Mountaineers last TD with about two minutes left. Olvey hit receiver Jessie Huff for an 11-yard score.
“We come out and we work hard, and we got one thing in our mind: never give up, even if we get beat by 100. We just never give up,” said Bledsoe. “We got so much motivation. We got a good coach, we got a good coaching staff. And, even if we do lose, at the same time we’ll be here next Monday. We’re in it until the end.”
The Mountaineers host South-Doyle in non-district competition next week.