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Panthers claw way to thrilling win

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MABANK–The Mabank Panthers finished off their 2020 season in exciting fashion with a last-second 24-17 win over the Athens Hornets on Senior night at Panther Stadium Nov. 6.
The win was the first district win of the season for the Panthers as they overcame a double-digit deficit to down the Hornets in front of their home crowd one final time for the season. The win gives Mabank a final record of 4-6 overall for 2020. The loss wraps up Athens’ season as they finish 4-6 overall and winless in district play. 
The Hornets got on the board first on a 28-yard field goal with 7:36 remaining in the first quarter courtesy of Cesar Martinez to put Athens ahead 3-0.
D’Andre Thompson added the first touchdown of the night on an 11-yard run to increase the Hornets lead to 10-0 with 8:20 remaining in the first half. 
Sophomore quarterback Ty Arroyo connected with Daniel Staley for a 19-yard touchdown pass to increase the Hornets lead to 17-0 late in the second quarter.
Cedric Lowe came up big defensively for the Hornets as he intercepted a pass on the Athens two-yard line to end the first half with Athens holding a comfortable 17-0 lead. 
The Panthers opened the second half on a different path as senior running back Marcus Pruitt ran the ball 70 yards for a Mabank touchdown to cut the deficit to 17-7 in the first two minutes of the third quarter. 
Mabank’s defense set up another scoring opportunity for the Panthers as Jordan Nguyen intercepted an Athens pass to set up the Panthers on the Athens’ six-yard line. With two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Davontae Lowe ran the ball in from the six-yard line to make it a three-point game as Mabank trailed 17-14 entering the fourth quarter.
The Panthers defense starred again in the fourth quarter as Payton Sapp recovered a fumble to put Mabank in the red zone in the first minute of the fourth quarter. Kieran McDonald powered through a 36-yard field goal to tie the game, 17-17. 
A fumble recovery set up the Panthers in Athens’ territory in the final minutes of regulation as the Panthers looked to complete the comeback over the Hornets. Lowe picked up his second touchdown of the night as the Panthers sealed the 24-17 victory on a one-yard touchdown run with five seconds left.