SEARCY - It’s been 12 years since Magnolia started the season 3-0.
The Panthers reached the mark Friday night with an impressive 42-7 mercy rule win at Monticello.
“Our kids are the ones who are on top of that fact and my hat is off to them for wanting to achieve it. We got off to a rough start and really didn’t play four quarters like we should have,” said Panthers’ head coach John Panter. “But once we got going, things took off and we never looked back.”
Magnolia had its best rushing game of the season, piling up 487 yards on the ground.
Senior running back Kadyn Roach had another outstadning night, carrying the ball 15 times for 241 yards and four touchdowns.
Panter said his defense did an excellent job against a fact-pace Billie offense.
“Our kids handled their pace real well. The kids on our scout teams gave the defense some good looks throughout the week. At times, we would run two offenses against the defense to give them a taste of what the pace would be like,” explained Panter.
The coach said he was not pleased with the 11 penalties for 95 yards, but like the aggressiveness of his team.
“Stephon O’Guinn and Jamal McCray were very active. Demarcus Walker did a good job as well as the others,” he said.
The Panthers went up 7-0 on their first possession when Roach scored from the 1. He had a 15-yard run on the drive, while Maurice Strickland broke loose for 25. Quarterback Braelyn Beasley threw a 23-yard pass to Cameron Warren on the drive.
The Billies used a 13-play, 70-yard drive to tie the game at 7-7 with 4:02 to play in the opening period. Jordan Ollison crossed the goal line from the 1.
On the first play of the second period, a penalty wiped out Roach’s 16-yard scoring run. Magnolia’s Garrett Clark later missed a 37-yard field goal.
Magnolia went up 14-7 on Roach’s 13-yard run and Clark’s PAT with six minutes remaining in the first half.
They added two more scores before the half ended to make it 28-7.
Following a fumble recovery by Robert Mack, Beasley kept on an option and scored from 55 yards out at the 4:06 mark. Three minutes later after the defense took over on downs, Roach scored from the 20 to make it 28-7.
The Panthers’ defense shut the Billies down in the second half by forcing a missed field goal and taking over on downs for the second time in the game.
Magnolia mounted a 10-play, 80-yard drive to go up 35-7 after a 3-yard TD run by Warren. Roach and Strickland did most of the damage on the ground, but Beasley did throw a 25-yard pass to Kalil Collins.
With a 1:36 to play in the third period, Roach’s 18-yard run put the Panthers in front 42-7. The senior had a 52-yard run in the final period before leaving the game.
The Panthers are off this Friday and will play a huge home game against conference favorite Arkansas High on Sept. 21. Kickoff at Panther Stadium is schedule for 7 p.m.