The Panthers earned an impressive 20-6 win over the Indians to improve to 4-1 on the season.
Dalton Perkins saw a challenge Friday night.
And the Panthers sophomore more than rose to the occasion.
With just over three minutes left in the first half, Clark County faced a fourth-and-23 from its own 34-yard line. Before the snap a Palmyra coach called Perkins out to step up and make a play.
The sophomore proceeded to block the punt, scoop up the loose ball and score to extend the Panthers’ lead to 10-0 with 3:24 left in the first half.
“It was all motivation,” Perkins said of the blocked punt and score. “When someone tells me to do something I have to do it. I can’t let them down.”
Perkins, who came off the bench for the Panthers defense, picked up a pair of second-half sacks to help Palmyra to an impressive 20-6 win over the Indians. The win improves the Panthers to 4-1 on the season and was their fourth straight.
With both teams defense setting the tone early, the Panthers struck first on special teams. Noah Mencer booted a 42-yard field goal through the uprights for a 3-0 lead with seven seconds left in the opening stanza.
Mencer would later add a 45-yarder in the third quarter. The second field goal answered the Indians lone score of the game and gave the Panthers a 13-6 lead.
“It was great having Noah back there who can boom them from 40-plus yards,” Panthers coach Kevin Miles said.
The Panthers defense did the rest.
Clark County turned the ball over on downs three times in the fourth quarter and also fumbled the ball away midway through the final stanza. Gabe Goodwin recovered the fumble.
The Panthers defense also forced and recovered a fumble in the first half inside their own 10. Peyton Plunkett forced the fumble before multiple Panthers fell on the loose ball at the six.
“We have one of the best defenses in the conference,” Perkins said. “It was just an ordinary day as a Palmyra Panther.”
Jacob Kroeger made a leaping interception for the Panthers on Clark County’s opening possession of the game.
“I tell you what, our defense is pretty darn good,” Miles said of his defensive effort. “Coach Smyser does a great job of getting the kids in the right spot and we have a lot of kids who like to play physical and downhill and our defensive backs do a great job of getting to their spots.”
With the defense leading the way, the offense did just enough Friday night to come away with the win, according to Miles.
Peyton Plunkett grinded out 116 yards on the ground, while Tucker Aeschliman added 51. Kroeger, the Panthers starting signal caller, had to leave the game with a minor neck injury.
Backup quarterback Corder Lehenbauer came in and capped off the game with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Jarom Alexander with 2:46 left in the game.
In the previous possession, Lehenbauer had trouble executing handoffs, but more than made up for the slow start.
“I probably didn’t put Corder in the best position to be successful on that first drive,” Miles said. “But he is a great quarterback and bounced back with a big play for us.”
Clark County outgained Palmyra 214-204 for the game.
The Indians turned the ball over three times, while Palmyra did not give away any possessions.
“It was just a grind-it-out win,” Miles said. “We didn’t play great offensively, but we managed the game well and did what we needed to do.”
Palmyra (4-1) travels to Louisiana next Friday.