Despite taking the lead early on, the Panthers never seemed to have full control of the contest and the Rebels never seemed out of it in the first half, proving it when they put up a touchdown of their own at the five minute mark of the second before hitting the locker room.
To start the second half, Parkwood received the kickoff. Looking as though they were running out of steam they were unable to mount a run against the Panther defense and were forced to punt. As they lined up with a Panther player back in favorable field position, the lights shut off for the second time of the night, snuffing out the momentum that Franklin had gained from stopping the opposing team.
“We had some things working against us obviously. It was the first game we've played in the rain and of course the lights went out, but both teams had to play through those things,” said head coach Josh Brooks. “Sometimes, you just have to give credit to the other team. We knew they were better than their record showed. They come from a tough conference and they played really well.”
About 15 minutes later the lights began to slowly come back on to the cheers of the depleted home bleachers and the almost non-existent visiting section. In the remaining time of the contest, the tide began to shift and the Rebels started to hit their stride.
When getting close to their end-zone, the Panthers were only able to put up three points with a Chris Richards field goal. After that, it was all Rebel football. Putting up four consecutive touchdowns, two offensive and two defensive, The Rebels jumped ahead with a score of 35-17 and eventually were able to secure the win and move on to the next round of the playoffs where they will meet the Forest Hill Yellowjackets.
“You know, we're disappointed by the loss, but we just made too many mistakes to win. They made us pay for our mistakes,” said Brooks.
The Panthers went undefeated in the regular season for only the second time in team history and also the second time in just three years. Despite losing the game against Parkwood, Brooks is still proud of his team for all of their accomplishments.
“We set goals and we achieved most of them. We wanted double digit wins, we got them. We wanted to be conference champs and we did that too. We wanted to make the playoffs, we did that. It's been a good season,” said Brooks. “These guys have been a fun group to coach. We're grateful for our dedicated coaching staff, our administration and the community.”
The team will see 24 of its seniors graduate in the spring, but Brooks believes that there will be good players coming back to suit up again next fall.
“I'm proud of the seniors for what they've accomplished, having four years of winning seasons and going undefeated in two of the four. I wish them luck moving forward. Despite losing them, I think we're going to have some good players coming back next year,” he said.