Quitman secures playoffs
By By Robby Atkinson/staff writer
October 25, 2003
QUITMAN The Quitman Panthers only needed one win to secure a playoff berth and what better way to get the job done than in front of the home crowd in Clarke County.
The Panthers used four Northeast Jones turnovers and a great rushing game by senior running back Mike McLendon to take a 38-14 win on senior night at Panther Field.
Quitman moved to 5-4 overall fpr the season and 3-3 in Division 5-4A play. The team hits the road next week to play Florence.
The Panthers success over the 2003 season has been in large part to rushing of McLendon. The senior turned in another career night for the Panthers with 21 carries for 181 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The soft spoken back was very vocal on this night and commented on the success of his team.
The Panther defense forced the first turnover of the night, with 10:26 left in the first quarter. Antoinne McKenzie came up with an interception for Quitman, and McLendon scored from six yards out to give Quitman a 7-0 lead, after Eli Lowery hit the point-after attmept, with 7:08 remaining in the first.
Northeast Jones went back to work on offense, but the drive came to an end thanks to a great stand by the defensive front for the Panthers. After several exchanges of possession, Quitman found the end zone for the second time and took a 14-0 lead, with 4:18 left in the second quarter.
Northeast Jones moved the ball with ease midway through the second quarter, but Randy Carter picked off a pass from David Sims to lead to the score for the Panthers.
McLendon notched the touchdown from one-yard out to give his team a 14-point advantage. On the next possession, the Quitman defense collected another interception. Breland Clark collected the ball for Quitman and put his team back to work on offense.
The drive stalled and Northeast Jones added a quick score right before the half to cut Quitman's lead to 14-7. Brandon Keys scored on a 14-yard run to give his team some momentum going into the half.
Quitman returned to the field in the third quarter and went on a scoring parade to build its lead to 31-7.
The big score of the third quarter was on a 56-yard touchdown run by McLendon to give Quitman a comfortable lead going into the final quarter. Justin Holloman also added a 30-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, and the final blow of the night once again came from the Panther defense.
Travis Chambless picked up a fumble from a bad pitch and raced 78 yards for a Quitman's final score. Tee Wilkins added a late six-yard score late in the game to wrap the game up on offense for Northeast Jones.