A New Lexington player celebrates after scoring a touchdown

New Lexington take control of the MVL-Small after thumping West Muskingum

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NEW LEXINGTON, Ohio (WOUB) — The battle of the 3-0 New Lexington Panthers and the West Muskingum Tornadoes did not disappoint. All eyes were on New Lexington’s Hunter Rose out of the backfield as the star running back has been lighting teams’ defenses up to start the year.

He ripped off several big runs, including one on the first drive to lead his team all the way down to the one-yard line, only to be halted when he fumbled into the hands of Slater Sampsel, who returned it to the Tornadoes’ 45-yard line.

West Muskingum would move down the field well after the turnover, but the Panthers defense held its ground, forcing a turnover on downs around the 30-yard line. With the ball now back in the hands of Lukas Ratliff, he fired a deep ball down the left sideline and Jake Anton was having none of that! He laid out while back pedaling and made a spectacular grab for the interception on his own 47-yard line with just a couple minutes to go in the first!

The first quarter would end in a scoreless, 0-0 tie, and it remained that way halfway through the second quarter. That’s when Hunter Rose took back over. Bouncing off and spinning around defenders, the Panthers’ running back was able to rip off a beautiful 30-yard touchdown run to get the scoring started. A failed two-point conversion would keep the score at 6-0.

New Lexington would quickly get the ball back and march down the field once again towards the end of the first half. In fact, they got all the way down to the one-yard line, and after an illegal formation penalty pushed them back to the six, it was Lukas Ratliff taking it in himself for the score! The Panthers would go for two again, this time successful, giving themselves a 14-point lead heading into the half.

The second half was much more even in terms of numbers put on the scoreboard. Rose and Ratliff would each add a rushing touchdown to their name, including a 48 yarder from the senior quarterback, and it was Ty Shawger doing the scoring for the Tornadoes. Not once, but twice did Shawger find paydirt! However, New Lexington’s 14 point lead going into the half was too much to overcome, and the Panthers would indeed hang on to win this one 26-13, improving their undefeated record to 4-0. They will look to make the win count 5 next week when they take on a tough Tri Valley.

The loss is the first of its kind for West Muskingum, and they fall to 3-1. They will look to bounce back next week when they take on Philo in a non-conference matchup.