Panthers break through for first win
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It was time.
Cam Perkins, a freshman from Loganville, has shown what he can do in practice, and LaGrange College head coach Earl Chambers decided Saturday’s home showdown against Apprentice was the right moment for him to make his debut in a game.
That decision was a fruitful one.
Perkins had a 3-yard touchdown run less than five minutes into the game, and that was the start of a big afternoon for the first-year player.
Perkins, who shared time with senior Kelly Hall at quarterback, ran for 88 yards on just seven carries, and he scored three touchdowns to help LaGrange College beat Apprentice 42-13 for its first win of the season after opening with losses to Birmingham Southern and Berry.
“We can’t tackle Cam in practice,” Chambers said. “I kept saying we’ve got to figure out a way to get him on the field. He’s big, and he runs like a running back. If we can get him to throw the ball effectively, he’s going to be something else. I’m glad we have him.”
Hall, who threw for 400 yards against Berry, continued to get it done.
Hall completed 14-of-22 passes for 171 yards with a pair of touchdowns against Apprentice.
Marcus Campbell, one of the most productive wide receivers in the history of the program, caught three passes for 90 yards with a touchdown, and Austin Sapp also had a scoring catch.
Drew Lewiski had a touchdown run in the second half to cap the Panthers’ scoring.
Defensively, LaGrange College had its best effort of the season, limiting Apprentice (1-3) to less than 300 yards.
LaGrange College was ahead 42-7 when Apprentice scored a meaningless touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Chambers, the Panthers’ first-year head coach, was happy to see the hard work the players have been putting in pay off with a victory.
“It means a lot,” Chambers said. “I told them all how good our practices were all week. You could see it. You could see the small details being met in practice. They talked, they communicated well, and I didn’t have to tell them. That tells me they’re maturing a little bit.”
The Panthers, after recovering a fumble, only needed to go 30 yards for their first touchdown, and Perkins capped that short drive with a 3-yard scoring run, and Alex Rivera made the first of his six extra points.
After Apprentice scored to tie it at 7-7, it took LaGrange College one play to regain the lead, with Hall finding Campbell for a 68-yard touchdown pass.
The Panthers added two more first-quarter touchdowns to build a 28-7 lead.
Following a shanked punt, Sapp’s 18-yard touchdown catch from Hall capped a six-play, 38-yard drive.
Moment later, Connor Coddington recovered a fumble at the Apprentice 33-yard line, and Perkins scored on a 7-yard run three plays later.
After a scoreless second quarter, the Panthers had a 28-7 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, Perkins showed off his speed when he beat the Apprentice defense for a 63-yard touchdown run.
Later in the quarter, Lewis Rivers forced a fumble on a punt return, and Elijah Robertson recovered the ball at the 3-yard line.
Three plays later, Lewiski’s 2-yard run and the extra point gave the Panthers a 42-7 lead.
LaGrange College will open its USA South schedule on Saturday at North Carolina-Wesleyan.
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