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Panthers down Cougars

By By Marty Stamper/EMG sports assistant
September 20, 2003
DECATUR Quitman's Mike McLendon played chase with the Newton County defense Friday night and by the time the Cougars caught up with the speedy senior running back, he had racked up 288 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries to lead the Panthers to a 21-7 victory.
Quitman, 2-2, finished with 303 total yards, all on the ground as Justin Holloman was 0-of-4 passing. Of his 23 rushes, McLendon had 10 gains of 10 yards or more.
McLendon had 193 of Quitman's 197 first-half yards as the Panthers took a 14-7 lead into the break.
Newton County, 1-3, scored first on a 16-play, 68-yard drive capped by a 7-yard scoring run by Willie Windham. Tommy Strange added the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 2:42 left in the first quarter.
The Cougars provided the Panthers with a chance to draw even when Jonkenneth Skinner fumbled at his 17. Quitman's Willie Jones recovered with 5:44 to go in the first half. McLendon scored on the next play with Holloman's kick tying the game at 7-7.
The Panthers needed only three plays on their next possession to go ahead as McLendon ripped off runs of 22, 44, and six yards. Holloman's PAT made it 14-7 with 2:57 left in the first half.
Newton County opened the second half with a 13-play march that covered 59 yards only to die fruitless at the Quitman 20.
McLendon motored 80 yards on the next play as the Panthers grabbed a 21-7 lead with 5:24 remaining in the third quarter.
The Cougars threatened late in the third period after partially blocking a Panther punt and taking over at the Quitman 42. The drive fizzled on downs at the Panther 12.
The Cougars reached the Panther 20 on their final possession only to once again turn the ball over on downs.
Despite the two-touchdown loss, the Cougars ran 67 offensive plays and finished with 270 total yards. Quitman ran only 41 plays. In the third period, the Cougars ran 22 plays to just four for Quitman and were still outscored 7-0.
Newton County got 72 yards on 13 carries from Duke Hudnall. Colby Amis ran 13 times for 36 yards and was 7-of-16 passing for 60 yards. Skinner gained 47 yards on 11 carries.