The Cleveland Panthers traveled to Morgan County Friday for a first round playoff match up with the Falkville Blue Devils, who put up 370 points while only giving up 82 during the regular season. The Panthers rose to the challenge. Solid performances from senior DB Skylar Self and junior LB Kartar Adams, along with an offensive charge led by senior running back Daquarrius Phillips and junior QB Logan Washburn, led Cleveland to a 24-0 win.
Phillips got the scoring started late in the first quarter. With 2:51 showing on the game clock, Phillips ran it in from 24 yards out. Cleveland was up 7-0 after Jonathan Hernandez added the extra point.
Hernandez added three more points to the Panthers’ total on a 21-yard field goal at the 8:38 mark in the second quarter for a 10-0 advantage. Four minutes later, Phillips found the end zone again, this time on a 10-yard run. Hernandez tacked on the extra point extending Cleveland’s lead to 17-0, and that’s where it stood as the Panthers headed into the locker room for halftime.
The third quarter was a defensive battle with neither team able to get the ball into the end zone.
That changed in the fourth quarter when Washburn pushed his way in from the 1-yard line. Hernandez’s kick was good and the Panthers were up 24-0 with 5:31 to go in the game. The defense didn’t let up giving the Panthers their second shutout of the season.
Offensively, the Panthers finished the night with 344 total yards. Phillips had 170 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. Washburn, who rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown, completed 5-of-11 for 52 yards.
The Panther defense held Falkville to only 38 yards rushing and 94 yards through the air. Adams and Self each recorded 12 tackles while Jesus Elizzararazz recovered a Blue Devil fumble.
The win moves Cleveland to 8-3 with a second round game at home this Friday against the Aliceville Yellowjackets (7-4). Aliceville beat Hatton 27-14 in round one at home. They’ll face a Panther team that has protected its home turf all season. Game time is 7 p.m. Playoff tickets are available for purchase only through GoFan at www.gofan.com. No tickets will be sold at the gate or through the school. Ticket sales are limited.