Stigler remains unbeaten
Updated: Sep 29, 2020
The Eufaula Ironheads couldn't take the heat.
The Stigler Panthers remain undefeated after burning the hosting Eufaula Ironheads 40-22 on Friday, Sept. 11.
The victory celebration was driven by three incredible senior leaders Darren Manes, Ridge McClary, and Braden Drewry. Running back Ridge McClary had his best night this season with 120 rushing yards, 63 receiving yards, and two touchdowns. Manes followed with 165 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns and Drewry lit up the scoreboard with 12 points on 56 yards.
"Great win against a very talented team. Eufaula has all the pieces to be a district champ and a factor in the class 2A state championship," said head football coach Chris Risenhoover. "The kids really responded well when we let them get momentum by taking a safety right before halftime."
The Panthers punched in the first score with 8:53 remaining in the first quarter. McClary moved the chains to the 35-yard line on the first snap and then two plays later he sealed the Panthers first down. Quarterback Darren Manes followed with a 13-yard run. McClary added another first down on a 14-yard run. Two plays later, Drewry two-stepped across the end zone. Senior Enrique Juarez added the extra point to put the Panthers up 7-0.
Stigler would hit pay dirt again when sophomore Jayce Winkle recovered the Ironheads fumble. The Panther fans were roaring when they watched Manes cross the end zone three plays later for a 25-yard touchdown. I must say the momentum was definitely on the Panthers side. Stigler led 13-0.
The Ironheads answered back on their next possession with a 50-yard touchdown to end the first quarter.
With 3:37 remaining in the first half, the Panthers pushed the count 20-6. Manes started the drive with a quarterback keeper to the 42. On the next snap, senior QB Zane Oldham hit Bruce Engle for a 13-yard catch. Two plays later, McClary rushed to the 24-yard line. Oldham closed the 63-yard march when he found Drewry in the corner for a 2-yard touchdown. Juarez capped it off with a PAT. At intermission, Stigler led 20-14.
Eufaula came out of the locker room with a 48-yard touchdown followed by a 2-point conversion to narrow the gap by two but that would be the closest the team could get. The Panthers owned the second half.
It only took Stigler one-play to respond! Engle returned the kickoff to the 38-yard line and then on the first snap Oldham hit McClary for a 65-yarder to the house. WooHoo! The Panthers led 26-22 with 9:45 remaining in the third.
Stigler got their next big break on the Ironheads ensuing drive. The Panthers were able to burn Eufaula again on downs when Drewry knocked down a pass and stopped the Ironheads dead in their tracks. Now it's our turn to shine.
McClary scored again with 4:45 left in the third quarter. Manes sparked the drive with a 5-yard run, while Oldham followed with an 11-yard pass to Lakin Bass. On the next snap, Manes moved the chains to the 49-yard line. Two plays later, McClary was able to cross the end zone unscaved. The PAT was good! Stigler up 33-22.
The Panthers would score one more time before the final buzzer sounded. The boys of red and white used an 84 yard drive capped off by Manes 11 yard touchdown. And that my Panther fans was how Stigler burned Eufaula 40-22.
“We played good all around. We had a few hiccups in our defense but we ended up coming together as a team and kept our composure through the whole game," said senior captain Lakin Bass. "It was a great team win and I am excited to see what this season has in store for us. It's going to be something special!"
The Panthers' offense ended the night with 154 yards in the air and 311 on the ground. On the other side of the field, Stigler totaled 74 tackles. Leading the pack was senior Bruce Engle with 15 tackles. Other top contenders were Dylan Hodges, 8 tackles, and Tanner Mobley and Martin Hare earned six each.
The Stigler Panthers (3-0) will host the Seminole Chieftains (1-0) on Friday, Sept. 25 at Panther Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.