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Panthers enter bye week at 5-0

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Mabank topples Ferris, prepare for district schedule


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MABANK–The Mabank Panthers kept their unbeaten streak alive in a big win over the Ferris Yellowjackets in their final pre-district contest Sept. 27 on Homecoming night.
The Panthers entered the contest for their final tune-up before their bye week as they enter district play Oct. 11.
The ’Jackets got on the board first on a 41-yard touchdown run with 6:56 left to take an early 6-0 lead.
Jacob Mcray responded for the Panthers with a long 75-yard touchdown run 15 seconds later to tie the game 6-6.
Ferris added a late touchdown on a 22-yard run with 2:11 remaining in the first quarter as they moved back in front of Mabank 13-6.
One minute later, Mabank junior running back Marcus Puritt ran the ball 70 yards into the endzone for a touchdown as the Panthers tied the game 13-13 entering the second quarter.
Puritt added his second touchdown on a 65-yard run with 8:41 remaining in the second quarter as Mabank took their first lead of the night as they pushed in front of Ferris 20-13.
The ’Jackets took a late lead, 21-20, on a 17-yard touchdown pass with 4:21 left in the first half.
Mabank recovered a late fumble on Ferris’ 30-yard line with just over a minute remaining in the second quarter. With two second left, Panthers kicker Stuart Burns drove a 19-yard kick through the uprights as the Panthers entered halftime with a 23-21 lead.
Running back Hayden Hines picked up a 39-yard touchdown run for the Panthers early in the third quarter as they increased their lead to 29-21 with 9:55 left.
Mabank quarterback Dahltyn McKinnley pushed through the defensive line of Ferris for a one-yard touchdown with 7:21 left in the third quarter to make it a 36-21 lead for the Panthers.
Mabank defensive back Cody Pruett intercepted a pass and returned the ball to their own 25-yard line before the play was called back to the five-yard line on a Panthers penalty.
The Panthers didn’t take long to cash in on the Ferris turnover as Mcray added his second touchdown of the night on a 95-yard run as Mabank put up a huge blocking wall as they marched down the field, increasing their lead to 43-21.
After a late third quarter touchdown from the ’Jackets, Dakota Shaw added a 15-yard rushing touchdown and Jeffery Peterson walked in a two-yard touchdown as Mabank toppled Ferris 58-28.
The win moves the Panthers to 5-0 overall this season. Mabank Head Coach Zack Hudson feels good about where his team is at and has liked the way they’ve played against tough teams during the preseason.
“It feels good,” Hudson said about Mabank’s start. “I think the team’s have gotten better as the weeks have gone on. I was glad we answered tonight. We have to keep getting better and we can’t be satisfied. The kids did such a good job with a such a crazy week with homecoming and other things that have gone on.”
After a close battle in the first half between Ferris and Mabank, the Panthers pulled away from the ’Jackets in the final two quarters.
“We came out in the second half and we played well. We were able to score quick when we needed to. We had a defensive stop early and scored. Then another defensive stop and we scored again, and I think that just got the ball rolling and gave us that cushion we needed.”
Hudson knows the challenges that come with starting district play. Every team begins at 0-0, and each game means more than the last.
“We just have to enter it like it’s Week 1,” Hudson said. “We just have to get after it. We have two weeks to prepare, and it’s all about Crandall now. We’ve got to show up. They’re such a good football team. It’s going to be a good matchup and we’re just trying to keep the ball rolling.”
The Panthers sit the week of Oct. 4 and begin their district schedule Friday, Oct. 11 on the road against the Crandall Pirates (3-2) with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.