The 2019 regular season came to a disappointing conclusion fo Stone Memorial High School (SMHS), as Friendship Christian School (FCS) from Lebanon rolled onto the Cumberland Plateau and defeated the Panthers on Senior Night, 35-12.
Field position was the story Friday night as most of the contest was played inside Panther territory.
Of FCS’ 13 possessions on the night, only five started on its side of the 50-yard line compared to the Panthers starting all 14 of its possessions on its side of the 50.
FCS opened the game on offense with one of its few possessions on its side of the 50, but just barely. The Commanders would put together an 8-play, 51-yard scoring drive to open the game and would take a 7-0 lead following a 23-yard run from QB Justin Seagraves on fourth-and-4.
In the second period, FCS intercepted a Panther pass at the Commander 30-yard line and scored on the next snap when RB Jaheim Robinson raced into the from 70 yards out to make the score 14-0 with 3:35 left in the first half.
SMHS did have one promising drive late in the half. Following a 40-yard run from Cedric Little, the Panthers drove to the Commanders’ 31-yard line, but the drive would end on downs.
The theme of playing inside Panther territory continued in the second half. SHMS fumbled on its 35-yard line to start the third quarter, and its second possession ended on the 25 following a failed fourth down attempt.
FCS turned the turnover on downs into a touchdown three plays later when Seagraves scored on a 20-yard run to make the score 21-0.
The Commanders put the game away with a pair of touchdowns early in the fourth quarter. On the third play of the final frame, Robinson made it 28-0 when he scored on a 24-yard run to cap a 54-yard drive.
FCS scored again at the 8:34 mark of the period when Dorian Chapman returned a punt 50 yards for a touchdown.
SMHS would score a pair of late TDs to make the final score 35-12.
The first score came when Little scored from 9 yards out to put the finishing touches on a 10-play, 77-yard drive.
Touchdown number two came when QB Bryant Carter heaved a 47-yard scoring pass to Quincy Hunter with 16 seconds remaining.
Despite the loss, SMHS’ season is not over. The Panthers (3-7) open the TSSAA Class 4A playoffs Friday night with a trip to Lewisburg Friday night to take on Region 4-4A champion Marshall County (8-2).
The game is a rematch of last year’s opening round of the playoffs in which the Tigers defeated SMHS, 30-29.