AMORY • It was heartbreak for the Amory Panthers on Friday night in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs.
After taking a 24-20 lead with just 1:10 to go on a 1-yard Hunter Jones QB keeper, the Panthers watched Independence return the favor and come away with a last-second 26-24 win on a 14-yard touchdown from James Rodgers to Lundon Sandridge.
“They made a play at the end of the game,” Amory coach Allen Glenn said. “It was a backwards and forwards night for us, and we didn’t play great. They had a lot to do with that, and hats off to them. We made way too many mistakes to win a playoff game.”
The lead switched back and forth in the second half. Amory carried a 10-7 advantage into the locker room on a Bryn Camp field goal and another Jones touchdown run, but Independence marched down the field on the first drive of the third quarter and pushed ahead 14-10 on a Kylan Garrett 4-yard run.
The Panthers were able to push ahead just a few minutes into the fourth on a 36-yard scoring strike from Jones to Jay Hampton.
Rodgers capped off a long drive with a 1-yard keeper to go back on top 20-17, and Jones led a go-ahead drive of his own to answer.
He set up his 1-yard keeper with a 36-yard run and a 19-yard pass to Hampton, but the Wildcats had the final say with Sandridge’s game-winning reception.
Turning Point: Independence started the game-winning drive off with a kickoff return past midfield and a 35-yard catch.
Point Man: Charleston French rushed for 123 yards in the loss for Amory.
Talking Point: “These seniors poured their hearts into this program for six years, and hopefully they left a foundation for us to build off of.” – Amory coach Allen Glenn
• Jones passed for 132 yards to put him over 2,000 for the season and rushed for another 101 yards.
• It’s Amory’s third-straight loss in the first round of the playoffs.
• Independence moves on to face Amanda Elzy, which topped Hatley 32-14.