Panthers pound Patriots to advance to quarterfinals



Cleveland came away with a huge Round 2 win over the Midfield Patriots Friday night to move on to the next round. Despite being outgained 573 yards to 459 yards, the Panthers came out on top 61-46.

The Patriots wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, running the opening kickoff back 91 yards for the TD to take a 6-0 lead. Cleveland answered with a touchdown of their own on their first possession of the game. Logan Washburn ran it in from the 35-yard line and Jeremy Acosta hit the extra point for a 7-6 Panther advantage. Less than a minute later, Cleveland’s Luis Saucedo picked up a Midfield fumble and took it 30 yards to the end zone. Acosta’s kick made it 14-6 with 8:23 left in the opening quarter.

Midfield then put eight points on the board with a touchdown and two-point conversion, but Cleveland added another 14 points before the end of the first. Tyler Smith scored on a 25-yard run, and Washburn ran it in from the 1-yard line. Acosta hit both extra points to give the Panthers a 28-14 lead at the end of the first.

Cleveland outscored the Patriots 21-8 in the second quarter. Smith scored first on a 3-yard run. Pierce Gilliland scored the second TD of the quarter on a 52-yard reception from Washburn. And Washburn ran another one in, this one from the 12. Acosta hit all three kicks. The Panthers headed into the locker room at halftime up 49-22.

The Patriots outscored the Panthers 24-12 in the second half, but it was too little too late. Washburn scored on 10-yard and 6-yard runs to give the Panthers a 61-46 win.

Washburn completed 12-of-14 for one touchdown and 194 yards. He also ran for another 130 yards scoring five more touchdowns. Smith scored two touchdowns as he rushed for 117 yards on 22 carries. Gilliland caught 11 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown.

Gilliland led the defense with eight tackles, while Will Corder, Jacob Johnson, and Kartar Adams each finished with six tackles. Adams intercepted one pass and returned it for 30 yards. Saucedo added four tackles as well as a 30-yard fumble return for a touchdown.

The Panthers will face a familiar foe in the 2A quarterfinals when they host Southeastern Friday night. Southeastern beat Sulligent 37-18 last week to advance. Three of the four teams remaining in the 2A North bracket come from 2A Region 6. Region-leading Spring Garden travels to Mars Hill Bible Friday night.