Panthers win shootout over Wildcats

The Cleveland Panthers piled up almost 400 rushing yards in a 31-27 victory over visiting Fultondale last Friday night.

Fultondale got a 55-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and a short touchdown run in the second quarter to build a 14-0 lead.

Cleveland responded with a pair of touchdowns. Luke Awtry set up the first touchdown with a 53-yard run deep into Fultondale territory. Chas Cornelius scored on an 8-yard run and the Panthers trailed 14-6.

With just 20 seconds to go in the half, Cornelius scored on a 7-yard run but his two-point conversion pass was incomplete and Fultondale led 14-12 at the half.

In the third quarter, the Panthers took their first lead on a 1-yard run but the failed two-point conversion left Cleveland on top 18-14 after three quarters.

Cleveland increased the lead to 24-14 when Awtry scored on an 18-yard run. Again, the extra point was missed and Fultondale cut the lead to 24-21 on the next drive with a 57-yard touchdown pass and successful pat.

The Panthers put the game away on the next drive. The Panthers moved into scoring position on the strength of the running game, led by Cornelius and Awtry with Cornelius scoring from a yard out. The extra point was good by Hunter Wesson and the Panther lead was 31-21.

Fultondale got a late 1-yard touchdown run but Cleveland’s Christian Collum blocked the extra point and the Panthers held on for a 31-27 victory.

Cleveland piled up 424 yards of offense with 389 coming on the ground. Cornelius led the Panthers with 191 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries and Awtry followed with 154 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 17 rushes.

The Panther passing game had its worst night of the year as Cornelius completed just 2 of 10 passes for 35 yards.

Fultondale rushed for 174 yards and passed for 122. Josh Richardson led the Panther defense with 11 tackles on the night.

Cleveland (3-1) will host 4A DAR (0-4) this week