Ask any member of the Jerseyville coaching staff and they would probably
tell you that "it" was supposed to happen that way. The Panthers
two minute offense could not have executed any better when senior RB Trent
Griffith capped off a big night with a 14 yard score with 34 seconds left
to give the Panthers a dramatic come from behind 34-27 win over 8A Granite
Warrior RB Josh Stout, who just 1:54 before barreled his way 6 yards into
the endzone to tie the score 27-27. The score was set up on an interception
by Aaron Askew (his second interception of the night) followed by a 57
yard jaunt by Greg Lofink. But the Panthers special teams, which had struggled
most of the night came up big as Ryan Goetten blocked the extra point
attempt and wiped out a Granite City 28-27 lead. That play seemed to ignite
Jerseyville and never was there a doubt that their offense would not be
The Panthers jumped on top first and set the stage early by marching down
the field with ease. Griffith who missed the season opener at Springfield
H.S. scored from eight yards out. But the Warriors wasted no time getting
that score back when Stout returned the kick-off down to the 10 yard line,
that set up a Howell one yard plunge.
Jerseyville QB Mitch Watkins completed 9 of his first 10 passes in the
first quarter including a 31 yard toss to Justin Wittman to put the Panthers
back on top 13-7. Jerseyville could have opened up the scoring in the
first half but two interceptions and a missed field goal (all in Warrior
territory) resulted in the half time lead of only 6 points.
On their first possession of the second half, Granite City marched down
the field resulting in a 6 yard touchdown run by Josh Stout and a 14-13
lead. The Warriors then took advantage of a Griffith fumble on the ensuing
kick-off and eight seconds later Greg Lofink scored from seven yards out
to give Granite City their biggest lead of the night, 21-13.
The turn over only seemed to wake the Panthers, and just when you thought
they lost any momentum, Watkins found Justin Wittman again this time from
40 yards out. A missed 2-point conversion attempt though allowed Granite
City to take a 21-19 lead into the final quarter. But Watkins who had
his biggest night completing 26 of 43 passes for 337 yards, found Wittman
for the third time from 11 yards out to give the Panthers the lead again
Jerseyville decided to go for a 2 point conversion
again and this time found success on another Watkins pass that was caught
in the right hand corner of the end zone. The six point lead turned out
to be very important, keeping the game tied after Goetten blocked Lofinks
extra point attempt with just over two minutes to go. And set the stage
for what seemed like a two minute run by the Panther offense coming straight
out of a script.
The Panther star of the game was hard to choose this week with so many
good performances, besides Watkins there was Justin Wittman who caught
3 touchdown passes and a total of 150 yards. But it was Trent Griffith
that seemed to carry the Panthers, especially in the last quarter when
he rushed for over 100 yards alone.
Griffith ended up rushing for 192 yards on
19 carries and two touchdowns. Griffith also played well on defense after
sitting out last weeks game while serving a suspension.
Jerseyville will host Peoria Richwoods next week at Schneiders Sports
Complex at Illini junior high school. The Panthers defeated Richwoods
last year in 3 overtimes.