Updated Wed, Nov 20, 2013 7:10 pm
The historic Maysville football season of 2013 came to an end Friday night.
The Panthers fell to the Steubenville Big Red at St. Clairsville Red Devil Stadium by a score of 22-20.
The Panthers had multiple opportunities late in the game to take the lead, but were ultimately unable to capitalize. A missed field goal and the inability to get the pass game going ultimately doomed the Panthers.
Maysville was able to take the first lead of the game after both teams exchanged punts on their first drives. Chase Roberts raced 11 yards to the end zone to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead with 5:36 in the first quarter.
The Panther defense then made a fourth down stop on its own 25-yard line that prevented the Big Red from answering the Panther touchdown. Maysville kept their one touchdown lead for the remainder of the first quarter.
The Big Red would answer, however, in a big way at the start of the second stanza. Mandela Lawrence-Burke hit Lucas Herrington on a 57-yard touchdown pass, tying the game at 7-7.
The Panthers were able to take a 14-7 on a 3-yard touchdown run by C.J. Harris, after the drive was extended after a successful fake punt. The Big Red answered again, as a 2-yard touchdown run brought them within one of the Panthers.
On the extra point, a Maysville defender jumped offside, allowing Steubenville the opportunity to go for a 2-point conversion. The successful conversion gave the Big Red a 15-14 lead with 38 seconds left in the half, a lead that they took into the half
The second half started with some dominating defense from Steubenville. They were able to control much of the second half with their aggressive run defense.
The score that extended the Big Red lead to 8 points was the second Lawrence-Burke-to-Herrington touchdown pass, this time good for 34 yards. This touchdown came after the Big Red offense had converted on a fourth-and-2 earlier in the drive.
Maysville fought back with a gut-check drive that let the Panther faithful know their team was not about to bow out. The Panthers drove 59 yards in 3:20, capping the drive off with a Jordan Hayes 2-yard touchdown run.
As time expired in the third quarter, the Panther defense came up big.
Couger Clarke intercepted a Lawrence-Burke pass as the final seconds of the quarter ran off the clock. With the interception, Maysville had the ball at the beginning of the final quarter with the chance to take the lead on either a touchdown of a field goal.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, they were unable to do either in the last 12 minutes.
A scoreless fourth quarter for both teams made for a few very dramatic moments, mostly for the Panthers. With 8:00 left in the game, the Panthers missed a 41-yard field goal that would’ve given them the lead.
After forcing a Big Red punt, the Panthers took possession with 6:05 left in the game, but were stopped, and with 4:07 left, head coach Craig Clarke elected to punt the ball back to Steubenville instead of attempting a fourth-and-10 from midfield.
Steubenville ran enough time off the clock and traveled far enough into Panther territory to almost seal their victory. The biggest run of the sequence came when Jeremy Blue ran deep into Panther territory, bringing the clock under two minutes.
The Panther defense held Steubenville out of the end zone, allowing their offense to take over at their own 17-yard line and have one last shot at a game-winning drive with 1:20 left.
Four straight Maysville incompletions later and Steubenville took the ball back and kneeled the remaining 58.9 seconds off the clock.
The 2013 Maysville Panthers were able to make school history this season, winning the program’s first playoff game in only their second playoff appearance.
Head coach Craig Clarke had nothing but good things to say about the senior class and how they laid the groundwork for future Panther teams.
“I thanked the senior group for what they’ve done, but now the underclassmen have a big challenge and we’ve got a lot of them coming back and we’re going to get after it again next year,” Clarke said.
Clarke believes that the program is only beginning to tread playoff ground.
“Last year we made the playoffs for the first time and this year we’ve taken it a step further,” Clarke said. “That’s a definite accomplishment for this group, but it’s left a big goal for other teams to try and beat what the team did in front of them.”