The Palmyra Middle School football team might have come into Thursday night’s contest with South Shelby as the underdog, but by the time it was over, the Panthers had upset the Cardinals 12-0.
“We came together as a team and beat a good team,” Palmyra coach Mark Loman said. “I don’t know what South’s record was, but they played some really good competition and talking to their coach before the game, I know we were the underdogs.”
Palmyra tailback Austin O’Brien got Palmyra (3-3) on the board early when he scored on a rushing play during the Panthers’ opening drive.
“We ran a 227 dive,” O’Brien said. “I was ready and as soon as (the quarterback) said hut, I was gone.”
While Palmyra made its lead hold up, South Shelby was driving the ball. South Shelby took the kickoff to start the second half and ate up most of the clock before a sack and a fumble gave Palmyra the ball with just over two minutes left in the third quarter.
“Our defense played awesome,” Loman said. “We have been struggling at times on defense and I was really proud of the way the kids played. They did their job and that was the difference between tonight and some of the other nights we have had this year.”
Palmyra closed out the third quarter on offense before Clayton Hudson scored the game’s only other touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter to give Palmyra a 12-0 lead.
“Our offense really came together,” Loman said. “We had to complete a pass on fourth down to set that (touchdown) up and then we came back and scored on the first play from scrimmage in the fourth quarter.”
In between the first quarter and fourth quarter scores, the Panther defense made sure the limited scoring would hold up. Zach Burch had a sack for the Panther defense in the second quarter that went for a loss of 15 yards. While Palmyra gave up several first downs to South Shelby, the Cardinals got the ball inside Palmyra’s 20 yard line only once, and proceeded to turn the ball over on downs.
“It was crazy,” O’Brien said. “We did good on offense and defense and we won 12-0.”
Twice, Loman tried, unsuccessfully, to dodge his team as they soaked him with the gatorade bucket as well as with water bottles.
“It is always good to end on a win,” Loman said. “So obviously the kids were excited as they are squirting water.”
Page 2 of 2 - While the eighth grade season is over, Palmyra’s seventh grade team (5-0) has one game left. They will travel to Centralia on Saturday with hopes of finishing the year with a perfect season.