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Panthers having record year

Pumplin Center beats Kings Mountain 34-28 to improve to 4-0

The Pumpkin Center Panthers are on quite a roll beating Kings Mountain 34-28 on Wednesday. It marks the first time in school history the Panthers have been 4-0 in the Tri-County Conference.
On the season, the Panthers have defeated East and West Lincoln but according to head coach Gary Crouse they played one of their best games of the season beating Burns 24-12.
“I’m so proud our guys. Our offense was hitting on all cylinders today hammering out 327 yards of offense,” Crouse said.
Quarterback Ty Gray threw for school record 254 yards on 14-for-25 passing. Pat Sykes had a big day catching two touchdowns and had 17 yards rushing.
Jordan McClain had a two TD catches, 40 yards rushing and a 50-yard kickoff return to set up a touchdown. Johnny Little had 95 yard receiving.
Josh Cody contributed with a 24-yard catch, while teammate Alex Cannon had a seven-yarder.
Crouse was pleased with his offensive line’s performance and quarterback Gray.
“Our line is very young this year but they are getting better everyday. If they keep improving, our offense will just get better. Burns came after us all day but Ty read his keys well and kept finding his hot routes,” he said.
Crouse was also pleased with the Panthers’ defense noting the fact that his D is the ‘smallest he’s ever had at Pumpkin Center.’
Zack Miller their nose tackle plays ‘like a beast,’ in Crouse’s words.
“He just runs over people. This is his first year playing. Once he gets some more experience he’s going to be a force,” he said.
Josh Noratka, Josh Cody and Matthew Scott the linebackers, along with Mary Hoyle and Joe Curly have shut down the run this year for the Panthers.
The defensive backfield comprised of Jordan McClain, Pat Sykes, Jonathan Little and James Walker are very quick and fly to the ball. Ty Gray and McCoy Goforth switch in and out at strong safety with both playing well.
The first team defense held Burns scoreless most of the game only allowing one touchdown. The reserve players also allowed one touchdown.
The coach is happy to coach such an outstanding group of kids.
“I’m so proud of the guys. They are a great bunch of kids. We have never had a winning season here so this is new ground for us. We are going to play them one game at a time,” he said.
“We’ve preached to our kids that good things happen to people that work hard and refuse to give up. So we will how the rest of the season plays out,” he added.

by John Mark Brooks

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