Inman ends Panthers' season
Joey Guest – Special to the Weakley County Press
Malcolm Benau rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries to advance Inman to the first round of the playoffs, where the Bulldogs will visit Humboldt, Oct. 27.
Defensively, Inman (6-1) was just as prolific, holding Martin (4-3) to 10 total yards of offense and just two first downs in defeating the Panthers for the sixth straight time.
“They’re strong, and they have a lot of talent,” said Martin head coach Mike Stigall. “They will probably go on and win the state.”
It was a tough conclusion to a 2009 Panther season that saw them start 0-2, only to rebound with four straight wins before losing their playoff aspirations in the mud Tuesday night.
“I think we got better every day as the season went on,” Stigall said. “We had a winning season. We came a long way. I think we improved tremendously, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Despite the dreary weather, Stigall trudged away from the game with a positive outlook on the future. “I’m looking forward to next year. We’ve got a good nucleus of seventh-graders with some good size and talent. I like our team.”
Inman, undoubtedly, liked its team’s ability to strike hard and fast. This is exactly what the Bulldogs did on their second play from scrimmage as Benau took the handoff up left tackle, cut outside and raced 47 yards to paydirt just two minutes into the game. Corvez Nored took the quarterback keeper into the end zone for the conversion and a quick 8-0 lead.
Nored called the shots on defense, as well, and intercepted a Houston Haag pass two plays later at the Martin 40-yard line and returned it to the 8 for a first-and-goal. Two plays again would be all the Bulldogs needed as Zavier Goode ran off left tackle for the TD. Bo Guest and Billy Johnson stopped Nored’s conversion run, leaving Inman with a 14-0 lead at 3:13 of the opening quarter.
Martin’s first possession of the second quarter ended in a fumble inside its own red zone, and the Bulldogs took advantage quickly as Nored hit Goode on a 13-yard scoring pass with 2:35 left in the half. Nored plunged in for the conversion as Inman carried a 22-0 lead into the locker room.
The Panthers tried an onside kick to start the second half, but Inman’s Donovan Owens jumped on it, setting up a seven-play, 48-yard drive capped by Benau’s 6-yard scoring jaunt at the 4:25 mark of the third. Nored again scored the two-pointer to put the visitors on top 30-0.
Martin could never mount another challenge and failed to cross midfield the rest of the game. The Panthers just could not get anything going on the ground in the contest. Johnson’s 18 yards on seven carries led Martin’s rushing attack. Of Martin’s 24 rushing attempts, eight went for negative yardage, minus-41 yards to be exact. The Panthers’ two most productive runners this season, Michael Ashmore and Jenus Hussey, were held to nine and minus-13 yards, respectively.
It was the ninth consecutive year Martin and Inman had faced off, with the Panthers claiming victory in 2001 and 2003.
Editor’s Note: Joey Guest is a free-lance writer and associate editor of Pressbox1.com. He can be reached at email@example.com or 731-332-1164.