By Deunte Marshall/Sports Correspondent
Spring Garden was on a mission last Friday (Sept. 21) to become the first 4-0 football team in school history.
The Panthers (4-0, 3-0) defeated Coosa Christian, 35-0, in a Class 1A, Region 7 game in Gadsden.
“This is something the kids wanted,” said Spring Garden head coach Jason Howard. “I was proud for them. These kids have been through a lot. They’ve all worked hard. I was on their tails all summer long. I’ve ridden them pretty hard. For them to get this accolade, that’s a good thing for them.”
The Panthers took the opening kickoff and punched it in on an 11-yard score by Will Ivey with 10:01 remaining in the first quarter.
Coosa looked to answer with an even longer drive, holding the ball nearly all of the first quarter, but Spring Garden’s defense held the Conquerors on their own 8-yard line.
Panther senior running back Forrest Livingston took the ball on the final play of the first quarter 93 yards for a score, giving the visitors a 14-0 lead.
Livingston was the Panther workhorse for the night, rushing for 244 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns. He also had 10 total tackles on defense (seven solo, three assists).
The Panther offense was ready to go after a long rest on the sideline.
Junior tailback Tyler Morgan hustled in the end zone from 10 yards out to extend Spring Garden’s lead to 21-0 with 3:28 remaining in the first half.
Morgan finished the game with 92 yards rushing with two touchdowns.
Coosa quarterback Ben Mills connected with three different receivers to get a quick 39 yards on the final drive of the half. However, the drive ended with a sack by Jake Grogan.
The Conquerors maintained a decent drive to open the third quarter, only to be stopped short once again.
The Panthers again took advantage, as Livingston muscled his way into the end zone for his second score of the night with 5:04 remaining in the quarter.
Grogan’s interception later in the quarter led to Morgan’s second touchdown of the night – a 14-yard run to end the quarter and the night’s scoring.
For the Conquerors, Ben Mills had over 100 yards of total offense, while Austin Mills rushed for over 100 yards.
“We came in wanting to prevent the big play,” Coosa Christian coach Van Owens said. “We accomplished our blocking schemes a little better tonight. We challenged our offensive lineman this week at practice and they rose to the occasion, but we just had some self-inflicted wounds that didn’t help us. Those things happen, and we will see improvement as we do each week.”
Coosa Christain visits Gaylesville on Friday for another region game.