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Panthers to play for Tri-County crown

Pumpkin Center edged Lincolnton 24-22 on Monday in middle school football action. The game was to determine who would face Shelby on Wednesday for the Tri-County Championship.
With 30 seconds left, Wildcats’ tailback Jonathan Ingram found Jimmy Angle for a 35-yard touchdown pass. The score gave them a chance to tie the game to send it into overtime, but Ingram was stopped on the one-yard line.
Pumpkin Center, once again, relied on their quarterback Ty Gray who did damage with his arm and with his legs. Gray had a touchdown run and ran in two two-point conversions. He also connected for two scores through the air.
Ingram kept his team in contention rushing for a touchdown and scoring two two-point conversions. Ingram finished the season with 1300 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns. Josh Friday had a two-yard touchdown run.
Lincolnton’s head coach Mike Devine took nothing away from Pumpkin Center.
“Their kids played a tremendous game. They were relentless and are a well-coached team. Coach Crouse is a good man and has done a great job coaching this group. Ty Gray made big plays when he had to. I wish them the best of luck against Shelby,” he said.
Both defenses played the beneficiaries of turnovers. The Wildcats had two interceptions, while Pumpkin Center had two fumble recoveries.
The Wildcats end their season with 5-2, 4-1 in the Tri-County Conference. Devine and assistant coach Steven Smith were very proud of the season their kids turned in.
“I was so proud of the effort of our team. Coming into the season, we weren’t sure how good we’d be so this team was a pleasant surprise. Jonathan is a special player. He carried us at times. They have tremendous heart,” Devine said.
Pumpkin Center will face Shelby on Wednesday for the Tri-County Championship. Currently their record is 5-1 with an unblemished 5-0 in the Tri-County.

by John Mark Brooks

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