Magnet Cove's Junior Panthers used near perfect execution to build a 27-0 halftime lead on their way to a 42-8 victory over Quitman in 5-2A conference action on Thursday night at Bulldog Stadium.
Magnet Cove (5-1, 2-1) scored on its first four possessions of the first half as running back Josh Smeltzer carried 11 times for 59 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Wade Harrison completed 6-of-9 passes for 109 yards and two scores. Harrison also ran twice for 14 yards.
Receiver Jay Kelley was Wade's primary target, hauling in four catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone.
The only time Quitman held the Jr. Panthers out of the end zone came late in the first half when the visitors took over with 18 seconds remaining. Needing 37 yards for another score, Wade threw deep without success on three straight snaps.
In the second half, Magnet Cove's first team offense picked up where it left off as Wade found Kelley streaking behind the Junior Bulldogs' secondary for a 28-yard touchdown. Smeltzer carried around right end for two more points on the conversion, giving Magnet Cove a 35-0 lead with 2:42 remaining in the third quarter.
After forcing a turnover on downs inside the Quitman 10-yard line, backup running back Desani Neal took a delay up the middle for a 6-yard touchdown and Smeltzer kicked the PAT, extending the Jr. Panthers' lead to 42-0.
Quitman countered with a 6-play, 59-yard scoring drive that started with a 14-yard run from tailback Chris Milam, who found room around right end as the third quarter came to a close.
Running back Eli Peck added five yards over left tackle, setting up a third and 5 pass from quarterback
Trey McGhee to receiver Tyler Grantham, who made the catch for five yards and a new set of downs.
McGhee kept around left end for 13 yards, then Quitman's quarterback made an option pitch to Milam, who dodged a tackle and weaved around his blockers for a 36-yard touchdown with 5:48 left in the fourth quarter. On the two-point conversion, McGhee found receiver Braxton Varvill, who made the grab between two defenders while absorbing a hard collision in the end zone, setting the final at 42-8.
Milam led Quitman's offense with nine carries for 51 yards and a touchdown, while McGhee added 11 runs for 49 yards. Defensively, Milam and Peck paced the Jr. Bulldogs with 11 tackles apiece.
The Jr. Bulldogs travel to Conway Christian for a 5-2A conference game tonight at 7 p.m.