Despite the loss, Pine Prairie played long stretches of stifling defense that limited the speed of the multiple Tiger runners. The Panther defense forced nine punts and had fourteen tackles for a loss.
Unfortunately, the defense had a few plays where poor tacking allowed the Tiger runners to break a big gain. East Iberville had five runs of more than 10 yards, including three over twenty-five yards. Two of the three Tigers scores came on a 43-yard run and a 25-yard pass play.
Additionally, Pine Prairie committed untimely penalties that killed their drives or gave East Iberville new life. Despite several Tiger fumbles, it was three Panther turnovers that made a difference in the game.
“This is disappointing,” Panther head coach James Shiver said after the game. “I don’t want to take anything away from East Iberville. But, we made some errors that hurt ourselves.
“But, we need to stay positive,” he continued. “These are correctable mistakes. “We will we learn from what happened tonight, and we keep working hard. And we’ll get better each week,” he said.
The game opened up well for Pine Prairie, which featured a new-look offense. Rather than a spread-offense package, the Panthers came out in a double-wing look. On their third drive, the Panthers pushed the ball down inside the Tiger 10-yardline. However, on fourth down, the Tigers intercept a pass on the goal line and return it 22 yards, killing a prime scoring opportunity.
Pine Prairie’s defense forced a punt, but the Panthers turned the ball over again for the second time in as many possessions. This time, however, East Iberville made the most of it.
After recovering the fumble on the Panther 17-yardline, East Iberville benefitted from another Panther miscue - a 15-yard personal foul that gave the Tigers a first down on the four-yardline. Lennett Little scored on the next play, and Nicholas Brooks added the two-point conversion, giving East Iberville a 8-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
Moments later, to make matters worse, Pine Prairie shot itself in the foot on the punt return. Bradley had a 40-yard return called back because of a block in the back. The Panther should have had first-and-ten across midfield. Instead, it began the drive on its own four-yardline.
The Tigers forced a punt, and four plays later Brooks rambled 43 yards, breaking tackles and weaving across the field for a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, but as the third quarter came to a close, East Iberville led 14-0.
The Panthers, however, still had the final 12 minutes to play, and the players still felt that they had a chance to pull out a win. Pine Prairie’s defense put up another good stand and forced a punt.
On the snap, the ball got away from the punter, who bobbled it. Maverick Fontenot jumped on the loose ball at the Tiger nine-yardline. For once, it looked like things might break Pine Prairie’s way.
But, it just wasn’t the Panther’s night. On third-and-goal from inside the one-yardline, something weird happened. A Tiger defender managed to steal the ball at the snap, taking the turnover 65 yards down to the Panther 35-yardline. Once again, the Panthers were foiled at the goal line.
Pine Prairie got on the scoreboard with 2:46 left to play on a 42-yard Bradley run.