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Panthers fall in USA South opener

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

The LaGrange College Panthers enjoyed plenty of offensive success, but they were unable to slow down North Carolina Wesleyan in Saturday’s USA South opener.

LaGrange College scored five touchdowns and had more than 400 yard of offense, but it was North Carolina Wesleyan walking away with a 52-35 victory at Callaway Stadium.

The Panthers (2-2 overall) scored a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to get within seven, but the Battling Bishops scored the game’s final 10 points.

“We just had a bad day overall,” LaGrange College head coach Earl Chambers said. “There were some times where I thought we had the momentum but could not execute offensively. Defensively, we had players taking bad angles on the ball and not tackling well. I thought we just had a lack of a sense of urgency on everybody’s part. We had a lot of things go wrong and could not overcome it.”

For most of the game, LaGrange College was able to match North Carolina Wesleyan score for score.

Four times, in fact, LaGrange College answered a North Carolina Wesleyan touchdown with one of its own.

The Panthers’ final touchdown came when Cam Perkins tossed a 41-yard scoring pass to Jeremiah Engram, cutting the Battling Bishops’ lead to 42-35 with 11:38 to play.

LaGrange College attempted an onside kick that was unsuccessful, and North Carolina Wesleyan kicked a field goal to go up by 10.

The Panthers’ ensuing drive ended with a failed fourth-down play, and the Bishops scored on the next play to put it away.

Shedrick Lindsey, who was the starting quarterback, completed 9-of-16 passes for 160 yards with a touchdown.

Perkins, a sophomore who saw considerable playing time as a freshman, provided a spark in the second half, completing 6-of-14 passes for 106 yards with two touchdowns.

Tarin Westbrook had three catches for 69 yards with a touchdown, Ingram caught four passes for 50 yards with a touchdown, and Landon Emory had a 28-yard scoring catch.

Brendon Scott, who is having a big senior season, had 71 rushing yards on 16 attempts with two touchdowns.

Randy Fillingame led the defensive effort with 12 tackles, and he also had two interceptions.