Aug. 26—ST. SIMONS ISLAND — Lane Cole's juggling catch got the Tiftarea Academy Panthers close Friday, Aug. 25, at Frederica Academy, but the Knights got two big first down runs to run out the clock on a potential comeback. Frederica slipped by Tiftarea by a 39-35 score.
Cole caught the 16-yard pass from J.R. Walker at 2:22, first seeing it bounce off his hands before reeling it in after he had slipped upfield. A two-point pass try fell incomplete.
The Panthers attempted an onside kick, but it was recovered by the Knights at midfield. Tiftarea spent its last timeouts, but were unable to step their hosts' legs from getting two backbreaking first downs.
Tiftarea mostly played catch-up throughout the game after an initial 7-0 lead.
Like a week earlier, Walker lofted a pass to John Jackson down the home sideline. This went for 84 yards and a touchdown at 7:52 in the 1st. Jackson kicked the point-after.
Frederica, which ran roughshod over Brookwood in their opener, did nearly all their damage on the ground again.
Jordan Triplett's 57-yard burst put the Knights on the board at 1:52. Tiftarea retained the advantage, however, after blocking the point try.
A rare pass put the Knights ahead to stay in the 2nd, Triplett connecting with Dakwon Vaughn. A pass for two failed, as did a pass try for conversion on their third touchdown, a four-yard run by Triplett at 7:44 in the 2nd.
Tiftarea cut the score to 18-15 at the halftime buzzer sounded. Utilizing their hurry-up offense, the Panthers went 94 yards down the field, Parks Colwell slipping through a crowd of defenders for a four-yard grab. Jackson caught a two-point conversion pass before the teams headed to the locker rooms.
Triplett opened the 2nd half with a 56-yard run. The kick was good for a 25-15 lead at 11:44.
Tiftarea switched styles in the 3rd quarter, relying more on running.
Kaiden Richardson pounded his way in for a four-yard touchdown at 5:32, but a pass try for two points was no good. Frederica put distance on their lead from — who else? — Triplett, a two-yard run. With the kick, Frederica was up 32-21.
After a solitary pass, the Panthers ran 12 straight times spanning the 3rd into the 4th, Walker going over from the 2 at 7:30. A perfect halfback option pass got the two points this time, closing the gap to 32-29.
Triplett had the last touchdown for Frederica, a 13-yard run at 5:21. The Panthers needed to work quick magic to get back in it and did so successfully.
Walker hit five of six passes on the final drive, which went 81 yards and ended with the Cole catch.
Official stats show Walker going 14 of 25 passing for 306 yards and three touchdowns. Jackson had 206 receiving yards on seven catches.
Charlie Taylor and Eli Stevens recovered fumbles and Stevens forced one.
For Frederica, Triplett ran 31 times for 342 yards and five touchdowns.