NORTH VERNON – Jennings County displayed much improvement in Friday’s varsity football game, mixing up its offense and stepping up its defense to give Greensburg all it could handle before two late scores allowed the visitors to escape with a 32-13 win.
The loss dropped the rebuilding Panthers to 0-2 under new head coach Dustin Roller.
“These kids played their tails off,” said Roller. “We started 13 new kids at varsity for the first time last week, and the growth I have seen in one week is very impressive.”
The Panthers showed flashes of sharpness, including an effective passing game that produced both scores and an aggressive defense that came up with several big stops and plays.
Unfortunately, they also had moments of frustration, as a handful of miscues and penalties cost the hosts valuable momentum and possible points.
Jennings County had one score called back because of an infraction in the first half and another potential touchdown thwarted by an interception at the 1-yard line. They trailed just 15-7 at intermission and were within 11 after three quarters until the miscues returned in the final stanza.
“Had we had a few breaks go the other way or not had the penalties and things might had been different,” said Roller. “I want our kids to be aggressive, but I want them to be it intelligently. We can’t afford to make costly mistakes.”
The Panthers recorded several tackles for loss throughout the night, including a monster sack by J.T. Gillam in the first half. A gang tackle and forced fumble by the Panthers in the final period also allowed them to get back into the flow after Jennings’ Christian Redmond picked up the loose ball and rumbled 74 yards the opposite way.
Another penalty nullified the score, but Jennings County was still able to cash in after quarterback Conner Byram found Adam Driver deep for a 37-yard completion and then found senior Nick Nixon all alone in the end zone for a 10-yard score. The same tandem connected on a 4-yard strike in the second period.
Byram finished with 118 yards passing, including 60 to Driver, while senior tailback Preston Teltow balanced the Panthers’ attack with 82 yards rushing on just 10 carries.
Greensburg countered with a power ground game, led by junior fullback Trent Black, who bashed the guests for 210 yards on 21 carries. Quarterback Andy Meadows also added just enough to keep the Panthers guessing as he finished with 51 yards, including scoring twice on runs in the final 10 minutes.
“We just want to get better each week and compete,” said Roller. “We’ll take a look at what we need to work on and get ready for our next battle.”