Riverchase breaks Clanton’s two-year winning streak

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The Riverchase Middle School Panthers rallied in the second half of a Sept. 14 game against Clanton Middle School, breaking a two-year Clanton winning streak.

The Panthers overcame a 28-7 halftime deficit to edge the Tigers 43-42 in a game played at Pelham High School.

During the game, Riverchase quarterback Hunter Stovall completed 13 of 26 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns, and recorded 104 rushing yards for two touchdowns.

The Tigers quickly jumped ahead 28-0 following four touchdowns, two successful two-point conversions, a successful onside kick and a Riverchase fumble.

However, the Panthers got on the board late in the second quarter when Stovall connected with Zach Allison on a deep pass into the end zone. Kicker Austin Bowen added the extra point, bringing the halftime score to 28-7.

Riverchase scored again on the first play of the second half when Stovall again connected with Allison on a touchdown pass. Bowen again added the extra point to bring the score to 28-14.

But the Tigers returned the following kickoff and added another two-point conversion to extend their lead to 36-14.

The Panther defense then came up with a key play on the Tigers’ next possession, when Riverchase’s Matthew Messler intercepted a Clanton pass and returned it for a touchdown. Stovall’s two-point conversion was successful, bringing the score to 36-22.

On the Panthers’ next possession, Stovall again connected with Allison on a touchdown pass, and Bowen added the point after touchdown to bring the game to 36-29.

Clanton extended its lead to 42-29 following a touchdown and failed two-point conversion. However, Riverchase answered soon after when Stovall dove into the end zone for a touchdown. Bowen added the extra point, bringing the game to 42-36 with about three minutes left in the game.

After the Riverchase defense stopped Clanton at the Panther 25 yard line, the home team took over with 1:15 left in the game. Three plays later, Stovall broke out for an 83-yard run into the end zone, tying the game at 42-all.

Bowen then added the game-winning extra point, giving the Panthers a 43-42 lead.

Clanton then made a final attempt to score with six seconds left in the game, but the pass was intercepted by Riverchase’s Jeremy Ross. Ross then took a hit, and fumbled the ball into the hands of a Clanton receiver on the 2-yard line.

Messler then brought down the Clanton receiver one yard short of the end zone, sealing the Panthers’ victory.