Coming off two tough road losses, Wellborn put up points in all three phases of the game, cruising to an easy 54-14 win over Ohatchee.
The Panthers chewed up yards in chunks, scoring at such a rapid pace even scoreboard couldn’t keep up. When the buzzer sounded at the end of the fourth quarter, the score read: Wellborn 53, Ohatchee 14.
“We worked hard this week, and we had a good week of practice,” Smith said. “We’ve had a couple of disappointing losses the last two weeks, and we wanted to come out here and play well.
“It really wasn’t about the opponent. It was about us trying to get ourselves better.”
Wellborn proved it was going to be tough to stop on its first offensive snap of the game. Chantnz Goodman broke a 67-yard run, moving the ball down to the Indians’ 25-yard line. Three plays later, Kevin Mixon scored from 11 yards out to put the Panthers up by 7 after the first of six successful extra-point attempts from Dakota Gravitt.
Wellborn’s offense didn’t stop there, putting up points on its next four possessions.
Mixon — who finished with 94 rushing yards on five carries — scored his second touchdown of the game early in the second quarter on a 29-yard run. D.J Rhoden got in on the action on the Panthers’ next drive, scoring from 16 yards out.
Wellborn went to the air on its next possession, as quarterback Landon Machristie found Devron Taylor in the back of the end zone on a 25-yard strike, making the score 28-0 at the break.
Goodman — who finished with 119 yards on six carries — increased the Panthers’ lead early in the third quarter with an 18-yard touchdown run.
Smith was pleased with how hard his backs ran through the first three quarters.
“They always do,” Smith said. “Landon, at quarterback, and D.J. and Chantz and Kevin, they give it everything they’ve got every play,”
The Panthers padded their lead with defense and special teams early in the third quarter. Rhoden scooped up a fumble and brought it back 40 yards for a touchdown, and Taylor returned a punt 75 yards for a score.
Quandarious Moore scored the Panthers’ final touchdown late in the fourth quarter on a 51-yard run. Wellborn finished with 430 yards of offense.
Ohatchee threatened to score on the game’s opening drive, eating up a large chunk of the first-quarter clock with a 14-play drive. Behind strong running from Tristan Allen and two big pass plays from quarterback Dillon Parker, the Indians took the ball to Wellborn’s 10-yard line before running out of steam. Allen came up just short, picking up 3 yards on fourth-and-four.
The Indians threatened again in the second quarter, deciding to go for it on fourth-and-one from the Panthers’ 28-yard line. But Jaleel Burton — who also forced a fumble in the game — came up with a big stop, dropping Parker for a 1-yard loss.
“If we could have scored or picked up that first down, it would have been huge,” Ohatchee coach Nathan Wehunt said. “Our offense, I thought played well in the first half. We moved the ball up and down the field. We just couldn’t convert sometimes on fourth-and-short on the short end of the field. That’s something we have to work on.”
The Indians got on the scoreboard late in the third quarter when Parker carried the ball in from 1-yard out on a quarterback sneak. Brock Pressley added a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Taylor Eubanks’ pass to Micah Lee completed a successful 2-point try.
Allen finished the game with 23 rushes for 72 yards, and Parker went 6-for-10 through the air for 59 yards.