By Jack Jeffrey | Pinewood Prep Contributor
Pinewood Prep fell to Laurence Manning Academy 34-6 on Friday night. The Swampcats have been rolling this season and now find themselves with an overall record of 8-1.
The Panthers, meanwhile, have struggled. With the loss, they drop to 0-9 with one game left on the schedule. LMA came into the game as heavy favorites, especially playing in front of their electric home crowd.
The Swampcats scored first, finding the end zone with 4:59 left in the first quarter when running back Wyatt Rowland reversed field for a 57-yard score. Pinewood struggled to contain the quickness of Rowland all night.
“He was like a miniature Christian McCaffery,” said safety Addison Venitelli about Rowland after the game. “He’s fast, strong, and can stop on a dime. He could be running full speed, stop with one step, change direction, and he’s gone.”
Rowland followed up his rushing touchdown by intercepting Pinewood quarterback Myron Wigfall on the Panther’s next possession. Laurence Manning took advantage of the short field and Running back Trey Sharpe punched in the score from a yard out, putting the Swampcats up 14-0 with 2:49 left in the first quarter.
Pinewood’s offense struggled early on as they dug themselves in holes with false start and holding penalties. The backfield duo for Laurence Manning continued to takeover the game. Midway through the second quarter Wyatt Rowland caught a 30 yard pass down the seam which was followed up by Sharpe scampering into the end-zone from 14 yards out. Pinewood thwarted the Swampcats fake extra point attempt to make it 20-0 with 6:38 left to play in the first half.
The Panthers offensive struggles continued as cornerback Mickey Jordan picked off Wigfall to give the ball back to the Laurence Manning offense. It was the same story once again on offense for the Swampcats. Rowland followed up a 40-yard catch with a 27-yard run. Sharpe found the end zone for the third time on the night capping off the drive and putting his team up 27-0 just before the half.
The second half was a much more even affair than the first. Laurence Manning received the opening kickoff and marched down the field. They continued to lean on their running game which led when Jonathan Griffith took a 2 yard handoff into the end-zone extending the lead 34-0.
“They’re a really good team,” said Panther’s quarterback Myron Wigfall. “They have a team that has one goal and determination to make that dream come true. Another thing is that they do the little things right on and off the field.”
Pinewood Prep found their bright spot with 3 minutes to go in the third quarter. After two big runs from Raysheem Cherisol and Jake Latham, Wigfall found receiver Josh Higuchi for a 45 yard touchdown giving the Panther’s a much needed spark.
Both offenses stalled out for the rest of the game as the defenses for Pinewood and Laurence Manning forced punt after punt. The Swampcats after a 6-5 record just last season have taken the region by storm. The Panther’s found themselves on the losing side of the scoreboard once again, but hung tough throughout.
“Laurence Manning is always really physical,” said Pinewood receiver Ben Brown after the loss. “That’s what they’re best at, so they made it really tough on us, but I think we did a really solid job of trying to match their physicality.”
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