Normal Lake Level is 322.00 feet
above Mean Sea Level.
Current level for Cedar Creek Lake is:
na degrees - top
64 degrees - bottom
Mabank dominates Athens in
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer
CORSICANA–The first game against the Athens Hornets was considered, in
some ways, Mabank’s worst game.
Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Mabank Panthers hoist a bidistrict championship trophy into the air
after defeating the Athens Hornets 29-14 Saturday in Corsicana’s Tiger
The Panthers dominated the rematch at Corsicana’s
Tiger Stadium Saturday night, defeating the Hornets 29-14 and collecting
a bidistrict championship trophy in the process.
Going into the contest, Mabank head coach Jimmy Cantrell noted field
position worked against the Panthers all night in their 20-14 loss to
the Hornets in the second game of the season Sept. 7, and said Mabank
would have to force some three-and-outs.
They did that, all right.
The Hornets (5-6) converted just two of 10 third-down opportunities,
while the Panthers converted 10 of 17 third-down situations, enabling
them to stay on the field – Mabank ran 81 plays from scrimmage, compared
to 50 plays for the Hornets.
Athens converted two of three fourth-down situations (one via penalty),
while the Panthers (6-5) converted two of four fourth-down plays.
“The defense forced some three-and-outs, and we won the field position
battle,” Cantrell said afterward. “Overall, I was very pleased with the
effort of our kids – they kept their head in the game.”
Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Mabank junior quarterback Kolton Browning (14) dashes through the Athens
defensive line behind blocks from Bobby Gaddis (54) and Brandon Rasco
(27) for a 20-yard gain to the Athens 13 during the second quarter of
the Panthers’ 29-14 win Saturday. Browning finished with 190 yards and
two touchdowns on 25 carries.
Ball control is not something usually
associated with the quick-strike spread offense the Panthers use, but
they ran the ball effectively behind their offensive line against
Athens’ big and talented defense.
Junior quarterback Kolton Browning, who didn’t run in the first Athens
game, collected 190 yards on 25 carries, including touchdown runs of 59
and six yards, while junior Brandon Rasco added 79 yards on 19 carries.
Overall, the Panthers averaged just under six yards per rushing attempt,
while the Hornets, who were known as a running team, averaged only 3.3
yards per carry, if one doesn’t count a 19-yard loss on a high punt snap
out of the end zone.
Oh yeah, special teams. The Panthers won that battle, too, as sophomore
kicker Michael Blackburn nailed field goals of 25 and 27 yards.
The Panthers only punted once, while forcing the Hornets to punt five
times – and one of those, on the first Athens possession of the second
half, resulted in the aforementioned high snap and a safety for the
was a very physical game,” Cantrell said. “Both teams got beat up pretty
Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Blake Rambo (1) motors around right end on a reverse to score a
touchdown against the Athens Hornets Saturday. Rambo’s two-yard TD run
gave the Panthers a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter, and
Mabank went on to defeat Athens 29-14 to capture a bidistrict
“Everything was working for us, and it’s
the right time of the year for that,” he added. “It’s going to be
progressively more difficult from now on.”
In a matchup of two good teams, the team that makes the fewest mistakes
probably will win, but Mabank made the first mistake when senior Austin
Daugherty coughed up the ball at the Panther 45 on the third play of the
The Panther defense was up to the challenge, however, and forced a
On fourth-and-six at the Mabank 39, Hornet quarterback Chase Knighton’s
pooch kick went just 15 yards, giving Mabank the ball back at their 24.
The Panthers then put together their first scoring drive, moving 76 yard
in just six plays – the big one being a third-down 59-yard scoring
gallop by Browning on a quarterback draw with 6:36 left in the first
Blackburn hit the first of three PAT kicks to give the Panthers a lead
they never relinquished.
Athens muffed the ensuing kickoff, getting no runback, and Mabank’s
defense then came up with another big play.
On third-and-nine at the Athens 37, Knighton’s deep pass was intercepted
by Panther sophomore Darious Robertson, who returned the theft 40 yards
to the midfield stripe.
The Panthers were unable to capitalize on the turnover, as Browning’s
fourth-down quarterback sneak came up one link short on the chain,
giving the Hornets possession at their 26.
Hornet running back Kerry Gamble obligingly fumbled the ball right back,
with Panther sophomore Jacob Walker recovering at the 33.
Browning got the Panthers closer with a 20-yard run, but on
fourth-and-five at the Hornet 8, Mabank settled for Blackburn’s first
field goal and a 10-0 lead with 1:56 left in the first quarter.
Mabank’s defense force another three-and-out, and the Panthers put
together another scoring drive, moving 69 yards in 11 plays.
Key plays in the march included a 10-yard pass to Haydon Blair, runs of
20 and seven yards by Browning and an 18-yard dash by Rasco up the
middle to the Hornet 3.
On second-and-goal, the Panthers fooled the Hornets with a reverse to
Blake Rambo, who scored untouched from two yards out.
Blackburn’s PAT kick made it a 17-0 lead with 8:15 left in the first
The Hornets came back with their first sustained drive, moving 64 yards
in 12 plays, aided greatly by two personal-foul penalties against the
Panthers and a very questionable pass-interference call in the end zone.
Athens overcame a personal-foul penalty with a 17-yard run by Dexter
Warfield, and a roughing-the-passer penalty set up first-and-goal at the
After the pass-interference call gave the Hornets a first down at the
Mabank 2, it took the Hornets four plays to score.
On fourth down, Knighton rolled to his right and found Anthony Crayton
in the end zone for the touchdown.
Nick Gates added the PAT kick to make it a 17-7 Mabank lead.
The Panthers began another lengthy march, moving 40 yards in 10 plays,
helped greatly by a running-into-the-kicker penalty against the Hornets
that gave Mabank new life at the Athens 45.
An outstanding catch of a tipped pass by Blair set the Panthers up with
first down at the Athens 30, but with time running out, Mabank tried a
42-yard field goal attempt by Blackburn.
The kick was wide left and short, and Dhe’Ryan Jackson brought the
Athens crowd to its feet with a runback to near midfield as the halftime
Athens went nowhere on their first possession of the second half, and on
fourth down, the snap to punter Ray Knight was way over his head,
rolling out of the end zone for a safety.
A personal foul penalty against the Hornets on the ensuing free kick
(Athens was flagged four times for personal fouls in the second half)
gave the Panthers excellent field position at the Athens 45, but the
drive stalled at the Hornet 28 when Blair was unable to make a
The Hornets then stunned the Panther defense with a big play, as
Knighton found Negale Miller on the Mabank sideline for a 70-yard
Knight’s PAT kick made it a five-point game, 19-14, with 7:43 left in
the third quarter.
The Panthers responded with another lengthy march, moving from their 13
to the Athens 20 in 10 plays.
Key plays in the march included an eight-yard pass to Dewayne Hamilton,
a one-yard third-down plunge by Browning, a seven-yard run by Rasco and
a 10-yard pass to Blair that had a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty
On third-and-five at the 20, Rasco fumbled, with Hornet Stephen
Blakemore recovering at the Athens 19.
Once again, the Hornets were forced to punt. Knight got off a towering
56-yard effort, but he outkicked his coverage.
Receiver Davis Kiker returned the kick 22 yards to give the Panthers
good field position again at their 44, but Mabank was forced into their
only punt of the contest, a 31-yard effort by Rasco that Miller returned
to the Athens 45.
The Hornets were unable to take advantage of the good field position, as
a sack by Panther senior Travisdale Barker (a former Kemp standout)
forced them to punt.
Mabank then put together a 90-yard scoring march, taking 11 plays.
Key plays in the drive included a 13-yard run by Browning (with a
15-yard spearing penalty tacked on), back-to-back five-yard penalties
against the Hornets, and the big play, a second-and-15 throw deep to
Kiker caught the ball with a defender hanging all over him for a 44-yard
gain to the Hornet 8.
On fourth-and-goal at the Athens 10, Blackburn nailed his second field
goal, a 27-yarder, to give the Panthers a 22-14 lead with 8:22 left to
Athens had to score quickly to get back in the game, and Knighton began
looking for Miller, hitting him twice for gains of 10 and 12 yards.
However, the next two Knighton passes gained just six yards, and a
third-down run by Warfield got nothing.
On fourth-and-four at midfield, Knighton rolled out right. Although he
could have easily run for the first down, Knighton chose to throw to
Miller, but the throw was behind him and incomplete, giving Mabank
possession with just 5:29 to play.
Needing to run some clock, the Panthers did better, marching 49 yards
for a touchdown in 10 plays.
Key plays in the march included a 17-yard pass to Hamilton (converting a
third down), and Browning runs of nine (converting a fourth down), four,
10 and the scoring run from six yards out.
Blackburn’s PAT kick made it 29-14 with just 1:45 left to play, and the
Hornets had to gamble.
On the ensuing possession, the Hornets appeared to stall at their 35 on
three straight incompletions, and also lost Knighton, who was hurt when
hit hard on the fourth-down throw.
A five-yard penalty against the Panthers gave them new life, sort of,
because a Hornet protesting the hit against Knighton was flagged for
unsportsmanlike conduct and ejected from the game.
So, even though Athens gained a first down, they actually lost 10 yards
– back to their 25 – and were facing a first-and-25 with just 1:18 to
play and backup quarterback Taylor Jackson under center.
Jackson gained 22 yards on a pass to Jacob Norsworthy and an 11-yard
run, but his third-down pass was intercepted by Panther senior
linebacker Justin Crowsey at midfield.
Browning knelt once to run out the final 31 seconds, and the Panthers
Panthers to face Gilmer
Buckeyes in area round
Monitor Staff Reports
MABANK–One round down.
The second round of the playoffs looks to be more difficult, as the
Mabank Panthers face the unbeaten and top-ranked Gilmer Buckeyes for the
Division I area championship.
Game time is 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, at the 15,000-seat Homer Bryce
Stadium on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus in Nacogdoches.
Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for students at the gate.
“Gilmer is the top-ranked team, and it’s for a reason,” Mabank head
coach Jimmy Cantrell said Monday. “They are a well-coached, physical,
very good football team in all phases of the game.”
Cantrell said the 11-0 Buckeyes “are the best team I’ve seen on film all
“They’re very big up front and quick,” he added. “They have a huge
offensive line, and they’re very disciplined.
“Defensively, they run to the ball very well,” Cantrell said.
On the positive side, the Panthers have already faced teams like this in
pre-district contests. Rockwall Heath, for example, had a huge offensive
line and ran a lot from the spread formation.
“Their (Gilmer’s) offensive line is very comparable to Heath’s, although
Gilmer might have an edge there,” Cantrell said. “But, we’ve seen teams
Having faced very talented 4A teams in the pre-district schedule, such
as Whitehouse (still going in the 4A playoffs) should help the Panthers
avoid the glamour the Buckeyes might use to dazzle a lesser team.
“That may be a big plus for us,” Cantrell said. “We ran a tough
pre-season, and we’ve gotten better every week.”
Gilmer carries a big crowd to every game, and Cantrell said the Panthers
will need every supporter to attend.
“We’ll need to play a perfect game,” he said.
Directions to Homer Bryce Stadium: From Mabank, take U.S. Highway 175
east to Jacksonville, then turn right (south) on U.S. 69 to Alto. In
Alto, turn left (east) on State Highway 21 and follow it to Nacogdoches.
Stay on SH 21 in Nacogdoches, as it turns into Main Street, and follow
it through downtown. The first major intersection on the other side of
the downtown area will be University Drive. Turn left on University.
Follow University to E. College Street, and take another left. The
stadium will be on your right.
Parking behind the stadium can be accessed by taking a right on Raguet
(at a four-way stop) and then take the first right on Hayter Street.
Driving time will be between three and four hours, depending on U.S. 175
construction and traffic congestion.
KHS vs Grand Saline
EHS @ Malakoff
Nov. 29-Dec. 1
MHS @ Wills Point tourn.
KHS @ Edgewood tourn.
EHS Roundball Roundup
MHS @ Royse City
KHS @ Quitman
EHS vs LaPoynor
MHS @ Cross Roads
KHS @ Fairfield tourn.
EHS @ ET Shoot-Out
MHS vs Van
KHS vs Fairfield
EHS vs Malakoff
Nov. 29-Dec. 1
MHS hosts CC Shoot-out
KHS @ Quinlan Ford tourn.
EHS @ Edgewood tourn.
MHS @ Rains
KHS vs Scurry-Rosser
EHS vs LaPoynor