The game celebrated Senior Night for the Tigers (2-8, 2-6 Region 5-AA), as they ended their season on a high note after a tough year.
“It’s a testament to our seniors and a good thing for our young guys to get a win at the end of the year,” Temple coach Seth Rogers said.
The Panthers (3-7, 1-7) put the first points of the night on the scoreboard with a field goal on their opening drive. The Tigers were slow to get moving on offense, fumbling the ball on their first possession. The turnover led to a Chattahoochee County touchdown run to extend its lead to 9-0.
As the first quarter drew to a close, the Tigers fumbled for a second time. The Panthers looked to rally off of their momentum, but the Tiger defense forced a fumble of its own to regain possession of the ball on the very next play.
Temple capitalized on the turnover and sophomore quarterback Elijah McFarland threw a 30-yard pass to senior wide receiver Trevor Shell to set up their first score. Senior running back Kordell Parson barreled in for a five-yard touchdown run to narrow the Panthers’ lead.
The Tigers came out swinging in the second half, as senior running back Myles Simmons blew through the Panther defense for a 57-yard gain on the opening play of the third quarter. The Tigers were unable to score on the drive and it was Chattahoochee County which posted the first score of the second half on a short touchdown run, extending its lead to 16-7.
Temple’s seniors refused to quit, though.
The Tigers drove down the field and scored on a 24-yard pass from McFarland to Shell, putting Temple within two points of the Panthers late in the third quarter.
On their next possession, the Tigers again went to the air to gain the lead. McFarland found Simmons for a 65-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter. The Tigers scored again in the final minutes of the game on a short field goal by kicker Tristian Jackson.
The Tiger offense was led by Simmons, who had 132 rushing yards and 65 receiving yards. Shell added 70 yards on three catches. McFarland threw for 134 yards and had two touchdown passes on the night. Junior linebacker Jake Lambert had three sacks to lead the Temple defense.
“The one thing that’s been consistent throughout the year is that we’ve played hard in every football game. We stayed in the game and played great defense,” Rogers said. “It’s something we can build on for next year.”