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Panthers pound out victory over visiting Oilers, 31-26

By By Steve Swogetinsky/special to The Star
August 30, 2003
QUITMAN Powered by a pounding running game, the Quitman High Panthers opened their 2003 season with a 31-16 victory over the Heidelberg High School Oilers here Friday night.
Quitman rolled up 365 yards on the ground while picking up 22 markers in the air for 387 total yards. Heidelberg had 61 yards rushing on 22 carries, and completed three passes for 44 yards as the Oilers posted 105 total yards. The Panthers had a 14-4 advantage in first downs.
Mike McLendon put the Panthers on the scoreboard midway through the first quarter as he rounded the right end and rambled 75 yards for a touchdown. The extra point try failed and Quitman led 6-0 with 6:24 remaining in the first quarter.
Heidelberg answered with a scoring drive of its own. Oilers quarterback Raphael Jones connected with John Patterson on a 32-yard TD pass, capping an eight-play, 70-yard drive. Kenyoung Arrington ran in for the two point conversion and Heidelberg led 8-6 with 2:28 left in the quarter.
The Panthers answered with a scoring drive of their own, capped by Justin Holloman's 22-yard TD connection with Breland Clark. This capped an 11-play, 57-yard drive. The extra point try failed and Quitman led 14-8 with 8:34 left in the second period.
Heidelberg High responded with a good kickoff return that put the Oilers on the QHS 41-yard line. Six plays later, Jones connected with Arrington on a 14-yard TD pass play. Arrington ran in the two-point conversion and Heidelberg led 14-12 with 5:20 remaining in the half, and that's how it stood going into the intermission.
The second half belonged to the Panthers as they limited the Oilers to only five rushing yards in the last two periods of play, while gaining 183 yards of their own.
Sam Parks, a 210-pound junior, became the workhorse at fullback as he finished the night with 56 yards on 18 carries, while scoring two Panther touchdowns.
An Oiler interception set up a QHS touchdown three plays later as Randy Carter busted it around the right end and raced 62 yards into the end zone. The extra point attempt failed and Quitman led 18-16 with 4:46 remaining in the third quarter.
Parks scored both of his touchdowns in the final stanza on short gains. The first TD strike came with 7:22 left as he went in from two-yards out. The extra try failed and Quitman led 24-16.
The final score came with five seconds left in the game as Parks went in from two-yards out. Eli Lowry kicked the extra point.
Heidelberg coach Larry McGill was not disappointed with his team's effort as he looked ahead to next Friday night's game against Port Gibson.