Amory coach Brooks Dampeer saw improvements in his young team in their second official game of the season, but it wasn’t enough to get their first win yet as the Panthers fell to Caledonia, 30-18, on the road on Friday night.

“Everybody played better this week, and we ran the ball well. Our offensive line blocked well for us on running the ball,” Dampeer said. “We moved the ball well enough to score more points than we did, but we have to execute at a high level and had too many penalties. I thought some of our holding penalties were just good effort. We’re playing better each week, but not at the point to get the win yet.”

The Panthers struck first in the game with Jatarian Ware’s quarterback keeper to take a 6-0 lead, but Caledonia went up 7-6 later in the quarter.

Charleston French scored on a five-yard run to take a 13-7 advantage, but that was the final lead for the Panthers.

Caledonia took a 14-13 lead early in the second, then extended that with a field goal.

Dylan Thompson hit a field goal of his own to trail just 17-16 at the half, but Caledonia scored a pair of touchdowns in the second half to secure the win.

Amory’s only points in the second half came on a safety after a bad snap over the Caledonia punter’s head.

“We had some opportunities and some shots to score on plays that we didn’t execute on,” Dampeer said. “I’m proud that our quarterback took care of the ball, and he ran the ball really for the first time all year and ran it well. Charleston (French) is running the ball well, and we just have to get some more explosive runs. Safeties are stepping up and making tackles on him. Our receivers blocked well and caught the ball well, and we threw it to the right place, just didn’t execute on a couple of touchdown shots. We played well on special teams.”

Dampeer said the Panthers are battling through injuries on the defensive side.

“We’re just having kids having to step up and play, and we’re in the middle of that next man scenario,” he said. “On top of all that, we’re seeing experienced teams that are playing in different phases than we are, and we’re facing veteran quarterbacks over and over. We found some depth on defense now, which is good to see.”

Amory will face another veteran quarterback in Mooreville’s Dawson Phillips this Friday as they host the Troopers for homecoming.

“He’s got a great ability to improvise and has played a lot of ball. He’s very poised and can throw a receiver open so to speak, so that’s something we will have to contain,” Dampeer said. “Their running back is a shifty kid, and the kid they have at receiver has been a big plus for them.”

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