Bartlett, Tn– It had been more than a year since Bartlett and Bolton had last met on the gridiron. The long standing feud between the Panthers and Wildcats had previously been put on hold but the rivalry was rekindled Friday night with the 2017 iteration of the BHS Bowl.
With the home stands full and the student section’s Bowl themed camo clad school spirit on full display, the game begin with the Panthers receiving the kick-off. What began as a promising first drive for Bartlett eventually stalled in Bolton territory in what would come to serve as the early theme for both defenses. As such, the 1st quarter ended in scoreless tie.
The 2nd quarter would be a case of ”same song, different verse” with both offenses marching downfield only to be turned away after solid drives. The Panthers would finally break through late in the quarter utilizing a couple of big plays including a huge 25-yard run by Tamarius Brown which immediately setting up a pass from quarterback Preston Raines to JJ Vaden to the Wildcat 6 yard line. Raines finished off the drive with the short scamper to score the game’s opening touchdown as Bartlett would take the 7-0 lead into halftime.
The Wildcats received the ball to begin the 2nd half and again the Bartlett defense would hold on as the game settled back into that familiar 1st half formula. Bartlett would eventually score again on another quarterback keeper from Raines to take the Panthers to a 14-0 lead heading to the 4th quarter.
As it often does, the 4th quarter proved to be the deciding frame. Despite the Panthers two touchdown lead, Bolton was not going to go away easily. Behind versatile quarterback Ryan Bevel alongside Tomory Stephens and a tough running game anchored by KJ Barbee and James Williams, the Wildcats finally got on the board to narrow the gap to 14-7 and breathing new life into their BHS Bowl hopes.
Emotions were running high on both sides as Wildcats sought a comeback while the Panthers tried to shut the door on the game. After Bolton had stopped a Panther drive, the Wildcats seemed poised to execute a charge downfield of their own to tie the game late. The defense needed to be ready to respond and respond they did when a high snap was recovered by Bartlett linebacker Tristan List with 2:22 to play. That turnover set up 12-yard touchdown run by Tamarius Brown that would all but end the proceedings as that Bartlett Panthers laid claim to victory in 2017 BHS Bowl defeating Bolton 21-7.
The Panthers were lead by quarterback Preston Raines who was 11 of 18 through the air for 99-yards with multiple completions to JJ Vaden, Philip Thompson, and Melvin Turnage. Bartlett garnered 124-yards rushing for the game lead by Tamarius Brown with 61-yards rushing and a touchdown. Preston Raines also ran for 56-yards with two touchdowns and Melvin Turnage contributed 23-yards on five carries.
The Panthers return to action at home next Friday, September 1st as they welcome the Collierville Dragons to Bartlett Panther Stadium.
Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m
Photo: Malone Action Shots