AMORY – On a wet, muddy Friday night, it became a battle between Amory and New Hope of who could hold on to the ball.
New Hope (2-2) won the turnover battle, forcing Amory to turn the ball over eight times, and burned the Panthers on three long scoring plays for a 21-0 win.
“We kept the ball in the hands of our fastest guys, those ones who can run a 4.4,” New Hope coach Shawn Gregory said. “On a night like tonight, you’re thankful to come away with a win and that no one got hurt.”
The two teams exchanged possessions to start the first quarter, but the Trojans finally broke away on a 73-yard scoring run from Brenton Spann with four minutes left in the quarter.
Amory (2-3) had trouble moving the ball past midfield in the first half, and New Hope capitalized again with a 61-yard scoring strike from Brady Davis to Victor DeLoach near the end of the first.
“Defensively, we gave ourselves a chance to win, but if we made those three tackles, it’s a scoreless game,” Amory coach Ben Ashley said. “Their running back (Spann) is slippery.”
On the ground
On their first possession of the third, the Panthers got first-down runs from T.J. Fields and Fred Garth, but a fumble stopped the drive and gave the Trojans the ball back on their own 43.
Amory forced fumble of its own and moved the ball to the New Hope 37 before another turnover on the ground.
After recovering the ball on a punt, Spann made the Panthers pay three plays later, breaking free for another scoring run, this one from 32 yards out.
For Amory, Garth picked up 49 yards on 12 carries, while Fields added 39 yards on six carries.
Ashley said he found the positives in his team’s performance in the bad weather conditions. The Panthers are fighting through a series of injuries, which includes starting quarterback Jon David Poss (torn ACL).
“I’m proud of the way they fought tonight, and we’re going to get better,” Ashley said. “We’ve got one more tuneup (against Bruce) to get things firing on all cylinders before division play.”