Bowdon (4-0, 2-0 Region 5-AA) rolled up 413 yards of total offense — including 307 rushing yards on 44 carries — while limiting the Panthers (2-2, 0-2) to just 80 yards of offense and six first downs in the game.
“Thank goodness our defense played the way it did [Friday] because we sure shot ourselves in the foot offensively in the first half,” said Bowdon coach Dwight Hochstetler. “We lost a fumble on the two-yard line and turned the ball over on downs inside their 10. We should’ve been up 28-0 at halftime. But I thought our line did a good job of opening up holes and our running backs did a good job for us.”
Bowdon marched to Chattahoochee County’s 11-yard line on its first drive, but ended up turning the ball over on downs. However, on the Panthers’ third play from scrimmage, a bad snap sailed into the end zone and quarterback Chris Askew had to fall on it for a safety to put the Red Devils up, 2-0. After the subsequent free kick, the Red Devils went 46 yards in six plays to score on a 21-yard run by William Drummond, giving Bowdon an 8-0 lead with 4:39 to go in the first quarter.
After the teams traded fumbles — including Bowdon losing the ball at the Panther 4-yard line — bad snaps came back to haunt the home team again. This time, the snap sailed over Askew’s head into the end zone and Bowdon’s Logan Freeman fell on it for a touchdown to put the Red Devils ahead, 14-0, halfway through the second quarter.
“We had bad snaps, dropped punts and dropped passes [Friday],” said Panther coach Russell Morgan. “Why it all happened to us [Friday], I don’t know.”
Bowdon got one more touchdown before halftime, this one coming on a 67-yard pass from Marcus Thurman to running back Chris Keith. Avery McWhorter made the extra point to make the score 21-0 and the Red Devils took that lead into the locker room. In the first two quarters, Bowdon outgained Chattahoochee County — 215 yards to minus-10 — in total offense.
The Panthers drove to the Bowdon 16-yard line on their opening possession of the second half, but a lost fumble cost the Panthers again. Three plays after forcing the turnover, Keith took a hand-off and raced 44 yards for a touchdown to put the Red Devils up, 28-0, midway through the third period.
“We don’t have a senior among our running backs,” Hochstetler said. “You can’t key on one of them or the others will hurt you. We see what defenses try to take away and then we go with whoever fits best.”
The Panthers punted the ball back to Bowdon and after a 39-yard pass from Thurman to Josh Smith, Drummond got his second touchdown of the game on a 17-yard run to make it 35-0 Red Devils late in the third quarter. The fourth quarter was played with a running clock and the Panthers avoided the shutout when Jodie Perkins broke loose for a 35-yard touchdown run with 3:21 to go, making it 35-6 to close out the scoring.
Keith had 124 yards on 16 carries and one catch for 67 yards and Drummond pitched in 79 yards and two scores on four carries.
Bowdon returns home to host Manchester next Friday night.