Magnet Cove broke open a scoreless tie with 28 unanswered points in the second quarter on Friday night and the Panthers cruised to a 34-12 win over the Quitman Bulldogs in 5-2A conference action.
The home-standing Panthers (5-1, 3-0) took a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter with an 11-play, 42-yard scoring drive. Magnet Cove then stuffed Quitman and took advantage of good field position for two more scores over the next five minutes.
After stopping Quitman on downs on consecutive possessions, Magnet Cove covered 42 yards in five plays and 49 yards in three plays for a 21-0 lead with 6:05 remaining until halftime.
“We had a breakdown on some defensive plays and also our offense sputtered out,” said Quitman Coach Fritz Heidenreich. “We went for it on fourth down a couple of times and didn't make it and gave them a short field. They capitalized on it. We took a chance and they just made some big plays. They scored 28 in the second quarter and that was a big difference in the ball game,” added Heidenreich.
Magnet Cove came away with four interceptions in the game, including one that set up the final score of the first half as the Panthers drove 40 yards in eight plays for a 28-0 lead with 1:59 left until halftime. Trailing 28-0, Quitman didn't back down in the second half.
The Bulldogs stopped Magnet Cove and marched 92 yards in 11 plays for their first score. Senior receiver Hunter Bridges sparked Quitman with two receptions for a total of 24 yards then senior running back Allen Mannon broke loose for 17 yards and a first down at the Panther 10.
Following an incomplete pass from sophomore quarterback Walker Johnson, Mannon barreled through Magnet Cove's defense for a 10-yard touchdown with 7:43 left in the third quarter. The two-point conversion pass failed, leaving the Panthers with a 28-6 lead.
Magnet Cove put the game out of reach by responding with a 4-play, 63-yard scoring strike but Quitman kept plugging away, driving inside the red zone before the Panthers pulled down an interception.
Quitman snatched the ball back when senior safety Cody Tennant recovered a fumble at the Magnet Cove 23, where Quitman began the game's final scoring drive when Johnson found Bridges on an out route for 19 yards, setting up first and goal.
Mannon, who finished with 19 carries for 106 yards and two touchdowns, bulled into the end zone from six yards out to set the final at 34-12.
Bridges finished with four receptions for 47 yards, while senior receiver Chase Stewart added eight catches for 43 yards. Defensively, senior linebacker Derek Robinson led the Bulldogs with 13 tackles, while junior linebackers Jacoby Brown and Hadley Martin each contributed 11 stops.
The Bulldogs (2-3, 1-2) resume league play this Friday when they host Conway Christian (5-1, 3-0), which is in a three-way tie for first place with Magnet Cove and Bigelow.
(Editor's note: Stats and game details courtesy of Quitman Football Foundation's Dan Lichoff.)