October 10, 2009 11:34:00 PM
The West Lowndes High School football team lost to J.Z. George 14-8 in the final 25 seconds of a rescheduled game Saturday night.
In the final minute, West Lowndes failed to come up with a first down and was forced to punt the football. The ball fell beyond the 50, and all the Panthers had to do was wear out the clock.
But in a near-perfect drive, Rafael Jones found Antonio Partlow deep for a 40-yard gain. Jones then found Joe Johnson for another 10 yards. After a Panther penalty, Partlow pushed it in from 1 yard out for the game-winning touchdown.
"The kids did not quit," J.Z. George coach Chris McRae said. "Don''t know why we waited until the last 25 seconds, but we did. We''d been dropping passes all night and all of a sudden made a play that won the game."
McRae said the defense earned this win.
"We played a heck of a game," he said. "(West Lowndes) only had one drive. Offensively we stunk it up until the last 25 seconds."
West Lowndes coach Bobby Berry said a team doesn''t lose a game in the last 25 seconds.
"We had some crucial turnovers and then they kicked an onside kick that we didn''t get," he said. "We made mistakes at crucial times, shouldn''t have, but we did so we have to live with it."
The only score in the first half was a safety, when Brandon Hill tackled Jones.
The Panthers opened the second half by fumbling the ball into the Jaguars'' waiting hands on the kickoff. While J.Z. George didn''t do anything, West Lowndes fumbled again on the next drive to turn it over.
This time, Jones capitalized with a touchdown run.
West Lowndes regained the lead on a Courtney Lucious touchdown run to make it 8-7.
The defenses then battled it out until the last minute, when Partlow won the game for the Jaguars.
Berry said a playoff berth depends on the players.
"It depends on how deep down they want to go," he said. "Two of the next three games are at home. If we bounce back and get down and play we could."