New CD East head coach Lance Deane picked up his first career victory on the strength of a gutsy second-half performance from backup quarterback Terrence Jackson-Copney to rally the Panthers to a 28-21 come-from-behind victory over Warwick Thursday night at The Speedway.
KEYS TO VICTORY
Early in the third quarter, CD East starting quarterback Tony Powell, a transfer from Middletown, went down with an ankle injury and never returned. Warwick dominated the first half and led 21-14 when Powell went down. You could feel the wind come out of the Panthers’ sails. All Jackson-Copney did was guide his team to a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, rush for 52 yards and a score and throw for 61 yards and a touchdown.
Lost in all the shuffle of the late-game heroics and fireworks from Jackson-Copney and the offense was the stellar performance by the CD East defense over the final 24 minutes to set the table. The Panthers’ D was lit up in the first half by Warwick, led by quarterback Jack Reed. The Warriors had 277 yards and 21 points at halftime. In the second half all they managed was 73 total yards and zero points.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
In a lopsided first half everywhere but on the scoreboard, Warwick outgained CD East 277-118 and ran 43 offensive snaps compared to only 17 for the Panthers. Yet the score was only 21-14 at intermission. … Panthers RB Marcel McDaniels led all rushers with 74 yards on only 13 carries. … Penn State recruit Mehki Flowers, a transfer from Steel-High, finished with 112 all-purpose yards on only six touches and caught a TD pass. … Warwick WR Warren Fink led all receivers with 108 yards on only three catches and hauled in an 84-yard TD pass from QB Jack Reed. … Speaking of Reed, he finished with 261 yards through the air and a pair of touchdowns before leaving the game late in the fourth quarter.
WHAT WE SAW
It was a strange game, really. Warwick was in complete control everywhere except the scoreboard, and when Powell went down the Warriors looked very comfortable sitting on a one-touchdown lead. Their offense became very conservative and buttoned up after intermission.
Flowers is truly an impact player. More than 100 yards on six touches with a touchdown tells you that. But it was the timing of his big plays that was such a difference-maker. The Panthers’ winning score with 5:08 to play was only a 30-yard drive thanks to Flowers’ electric 39-yard punt return. He was also a monster in run support on defense from his safety spot.
CD East stared adversity right in the face when it lost its starting quarterback, down seven points and playing some pretty good football despite losing its opener. This Panthers squad didn’t blink.
THEY SAID IT
“I was in the game at receiver, so I was locked into the game. My name was called, and I was ready. I’m really speechless. After I threw the touchdown pass to Mehki I grew in confidence. I wasn’t cocky or anything, I just knew at that point it was all about finishing it.” — CD East junior quarterback Terrence Jackson-Copney
“We take pride in playing defense, and that’s our identity. It was about eliminating the big plays, which are going to happen. And we did that. This was a tug-of-war, neither team was giving an inch. We just made more plays in the fourth quarter. Terrence believes in himself, and we believed in him. The moment wasn’t too big for him. We found a way tonight.” — CD East coach Lance Deane
PANTHERS 28, WARRIORS 21
Warwick 0 21 0 0 – 21
CD East 7 7 0 14 – 28
CDE-Thaddeus Krebs 76 interception return (Nickolas Bloss kick), 6:22
W-Ryan Fink 84 pass from Jack Reed (Gage Meckley kick), 11:18
W-Christian Royer 2 run (Meckley kick), 6:41
CDE-Tony Powell 49 run (Bloss kick), 1:02
W-Blake Minnich 29 pass from Reed (Meckley kick), :08
CDE-Mehki Flowers 5 pass from Terrence Jackson-Copley (Bloss kick), 8:47
CDE-Jackson-Copley 1 run (Bloss kick), 5:08
Team Statistics W CDE
First downs 16 12
Rushes-yards 40-67 33-159
C-A-I 15-27-1 5-13-0
Passing yards 283 121
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-1
Punts-avg. 3-37.4 3-28.2
Penalties-yards 6-40 7-57
RUSHING: Warwick, Christian Royer 25-63; Jack Reed 9-4; Cooper Eckert 1-(minus-1); Andrew McClune 4-9; Trevor Evans 1-(minus-8). CD East, Marcel McDaniels 13-74; Aidan Chandler 3-(minus-2); Tony Powell 3-30; Mehki Flowers 1-16; Terrence Jackson-Copney 12-52; Team 1-(minus-11).
PASSING: Warwick, Reed 13-25-1-261; Evans 2-2-0-22. CD East, Powell 2-7-0-60; Jackson-Copney 3-6-0-61.
RECEIVING: Warwick, Ryan Fink 3-108; Blake Minnich 3-42; Eckert 5-43; Royer 1-21; Collin Shelly 2-42; Kyle Sapovchak 1-27. CD East, Tymere Thornton 2-77; Flowers 3-44.