Panthers, Bengals battle to 9-9 overtime tie in bantam showdown
By Fred Sherwin
Panthers running back Ekom Akpan takes off with the ball during second half
action against the Orleans Bengals on Saturday. Fred Sherwin/Photo
For the better
part of 12 quarters of football on Saturday the Cumberland Panthers completely
dominated the Orleans Bengals, posting three straight blowouts over their
east end rivals.
The Bengals were
at risk of being swept out of Millennium Park. Their only hope of avoiding
a possible sweep was their bantam team.
the Gloucester South Raiders 29-6 in their season opener, the senior Bengals
enjoyed a bye in Week 2 which gave them an extra week to prepare for the
a bye last week as well, but it wasn't scheduled. After losing to the Cornwall
Wildcats in Week 1, they were supposed to take on the East Ottawa Generals
last Saturday, but the Generals didn't have enough players so they ended
up having to forfeit the game.
team having played a real game in two weeks, both the Bengals and Panthers
looked a little shaky in the early going, especially on offence.
The Bengals eventually
scored late in the first quarter on a trick play. Facing a third and long
situation they lined up to punt the ball, but went for the pass instead.
Darcy Lavoie found a wide open Nick Lamothe about 20 yards downfield, who
easily ran the ball into the end zone to give the Bengals the early 7-0
were knocking on the door in the second quarter thanks to the running of
twins Ekom and Uyo Akpan, but the Bengals were able to stop them on three
straight plays inside the five yard line.
failed to move the ball after the change over on downs, they decided to
give up a safety rather than give the Panthers a second chance inside the
The score remained
7-2 in favour of the Bengals until the third quarter when Orleans tried
to take advantage of a Cumberland turnover near midfield. A
35-yard run by Isaiah Harris set up a 15 yard field goal attempt, but it
was blocked by Trey Morgan and recovered by Tyler Yaworski inside the 10.
to move the ball, the Panthers decided to do what the Bengals had done a
quarter earlier. Rather than risk giving their opponents excellent field
position, they gave up a safety and kicked the ball off from their 35-yard
managed to manufacture their best drive of the game early in the fourth
quarter. With Matt Dolet nursing an injury on the side line, the Akpan brothers
took turns under centre along with Ryan Donoghue. A 15-yard face mask penalty
against the Bengals also helped the Panthers who moved the ball inside the
10-yard line on a great run by Eli Ankou. Donoghue then took the ball up
the middle on first and goal from the six yard line to set up the game tying
The score remained
kotted at 9-9 until the end of the fourth quarter, which meant the game
had to be settled in overtime. Under NCAFA rules, if a game is tied after
four quarters, both teams get two chances to score from the
35-yard line. If neither team can score then the game officially ends in
The Bengals were
first up in overtime, but after failing to pick up a first down their 42-yard
field goal attempt fell about five yards short.
managed to move the ball on their first possession, but a critical decision
to go for it on third and two on the 12-yard line rather than try kicking
the ball left them an inch short.
After the Bengals
long field goal attempt fell short on their final possession, the Panthers
once again managed to move the ball on the ground. The drove all the way
to the one yard line where they could have easily gone for the chip shot
field goal. At the very least they could have gotten a single. But instead
they decided to go for the touchdown, which proved to be a critical mistake.
The Bengals defence
came up huge, forcing the Panthers all the way back to the 20 yard line
on a pair of losses. Needing an extra point to win the game, the Panthers
chose to punt from the 27 yard line. The ball sailed high into the air before
coming down into the arms of a Bengals defender who managed to get it out
of the end zone before getting tackled on the one yard line.
It was a disappointing
result for the Panthers who probably deserved a better fate, but the Bengals
were full measure for the tie especially on the last series where they managed
to come up with a pair of huge defensive plays when they needed them most.
Both teams will
be looking for a win in Week 4 as they take on a pair of West Division teams.
The Bengals will host the Myers Riders during homecoming weekend, while
the Panthers welcome the Bel-Air Lions.
view more photos of the game click here
p.m., Sept. 8)
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