By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
MOOREVILLE – Early season rust was not hard to find for both Amory and Mooreville in their opening season contest Friday night.
However one part of the Amory machine that was finely tuned after the opening kickoff was the passing game.
The Panthers’ aerial assault, led by senior quarterback Forest Williams, picked apart Mooreville’s defense for six touchdowns in their season-opening victory over the Troopers, 42-28, in a game that lasted nearly 31⁄2 hours.
Williams went 22 of 31 passes for 355 yards to five different receivers, three of which found the end zone.
“When you run a five-wide system you can do that,” Amory coach Trent Hammond said, “We’re running a pretty complex system for a high school quarterback to grasp and he did a great job.”
The Panthers (1-0) began their air attack in their first drive of the game. After a slew of Amory defenders, including Zach Khima, Jeremy Roberts, and Austin Roberts blocked a Mooreville punt, it took the combination of Tanner Poole and Williams two passes to find paydirt.
Two separate 17 yard passes between the two saw the latter going for Amory’s first touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
Amory’s third drive of the game took only one play to complete. On a fade route, a popular call for the Panthers on the evening, Williams found Abaris Woodrick for a 64 yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.
The Troopers, the Daily Journal’s fourth-ranked Class 3A team, cut the lead in half with Josh Johnson’s first of four rushing touchdowns on the night. The junior’s 14 yard carry made it 14-7 Panthers.
Amory ended the first half on a furious note, with two more of Williams’ touchdown passes – the first to Woodrick and the second on a 93-yard fade to Dario Robinson to give Amory a 27-7 halftime lead.
Mooreville (0-1) made a game of it in the third quarter with Johnson’s second and third touchdowns of the game. Johnson, who scored his last touchdown halfway through the fourth quarter, finished the night with 155 yards on 29 carries.
Williams completed his career night with touchdown passes to Robinson and Poole late in the game.
On the rustier side of the ball was the amount of penalties for both teams. Both teams combined for 24 in the contest.
“That’s not us, we don’t do that,” Mooreville coach Kevin Austin said, “We addressed it at halftime and it shouldn’t have came to that.”