By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
The Cleveland Panthers evened their record at 3-3 and 2-2 on the season with a 62-12 Class 2A, Region 6 win over the Gaston Bulldogs last Friday (Oct. 5).
The game appeared to be a shootout with both teams scoring early in the opening quarter. Cleveland’s Da’Quarrius Phillips scored on an 85-yard run to start the scoring barrage. Gaston cut the lead to 7-6 four minutes later on a 62-yard TD pass.
The roof then caved in on Gaston (0-6, 0-3), as Cleveland added 21 unanswered points to take a 28-6 halftime lead.
Playing without senior running back Kameron Hawkins much of the game, Gaston struggled offensively. The Bulldogs managed only 85 yards rushing and 95 yards passing while the Panthers exploded for 539 yards of total offense, 370 rushing and 169 passing. Phillips did most of the damage with 145 yards rushing and 2 TDs on seven carries.
Cleveland added 20 points in the third quarter to increase its lead to 48-6. Gaston scored a consolation touchdown to make the score 48-12 at the end of the third period. Cleveland cleared its bench over the final 12 minutes and the substitutes added two scores to bring the final score to 62-12.
Gaston head coach Swane Morris did see some bright spots in the Bulldogs’ performance.
“We played hard and we passed the ball better; we just gave up too many big plays.”
Gaston travels to Westbrook this Friday (Oct. 12) for more region action.