Panthers score late, down Bearcats 28-16

Published 5:18 pm Friday, September 11, 2009

The Americus-Sumter County Middle School eighth-grade Panthers scored two late touchdowns Thursday at Centennial Field to pull out a 28-16 victory over the Bainbridge Middle School eighth-grade Bearcats.

Running backs Craig Cooper and Greg Cooper, who are brothers, ran for both Bearcats touchdowns. The two-point conversions were scored by quarterback Preston Norris and running back Hunter Long.

The loss evens the eighth-grade Bearcats season record at 1-1. They defeated the Lee County eighth-grade Trojans 6-0 in their season opener on Sept. 3 in Leesburg.

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They will return to action next Thursday. Sept. 17, when they host the Washington Middle School of Cairo eighth grade Tigers at 5 p.m. at Centennial Field.

Craig Cooper ran in for two yards and a touchdown with 5:07 left in the first quarter, then Norris ran in for the two-point conversion, giving the Bearcats the early 8-0 lead.

The Panthers bounced back to cut it to 8-6 on Jonathan Thomas’ touchdown with 2:41 left in the second quarter. The Bearcats defense rose to stuff the two-point conversion attempt and keep their team ahead 8-6.

The Panthers took their first lead at 12-6 when Johntavian Land ran two yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Greg Cooper broke loose for a 52-yard touchdown run down the right sideline with 4:40 left in the fourth quarter, and Long run in for the two-point conversion, putting the Bearcats back ahead 16-12.