By Garrett Ross
Bryson entered Friday’s game with Abbott as 45-point favorites, however there are some things that analytics can’t predict. The Cowboys were missing three starters and while everyone loves the next man up mentality, sometimes it just doesn’t work.
The first quarter was a back and forth affair of offensive firepower, but special teams was becoming a daunting factor for Abbott.
Paxton Miller found the end zone twice in the first quarter for Abbott on runs from 8 and 56-yards out, but the Panthers missed both PAT attempts.
The Cowboys tacked on three touchdowns in the first quarter, one of which came on a 47-yard kickoff return by Chase Hearne. Bryson would convert on all three PAT attempts and held a 21-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The defenses stole the show in the second quarter. Both offenses struggled to put together a sustainable drive and only one team would manage to score.
Kayden Johnson got a great block from Isaac Terrazas, then broke a tackle and scored just inside the right pylon. Terrazas was able to connect on the PAT attempt, as Abbott made it a 1-point ball game 21-20.
The Panthers would get their first lead of the game with 7:11 remaining in the third quarter, but it wouldn’t last long.
Dillon Orr went on a scoring spree for the Cowboys, scoring three touchdowns before Abbott could find the end zone again.
Triston Stephens connected with Orr on a 4-yard touchdown pass with 5:35 remaining in the third quarter. Orr would then get loose and out run the Panthers defense on a touchdown runs of 42 and 47-yards.
Bryson held a 39-28 lead over Abbott with 6:53 remaining in the game, but the Panthers had some unfinished business to attend too.
Jax Miller hit Kayden Johnson on a 17-yard touchdown pass with 5:37 left in the game.
Another defensive struggle began between the two teams and there was doubt left in Panther Stadium, that whoever had the ball last would win.
Paxton Miller plowed through the Bryson defense and scored the go-ahead touchdown for Abbott on an 8-yard run with 1:46 to go.
Bryson would begin their march towards the end zone, but costly mistakes would force them into a passing situation on fourthly down and the ball fell incomplete.
The Panthers would gather in the victory formation and when the clock struck zero, it was Abbott who was victorious 40-39.
Both teams are on the road this week, as Bryson (2-2) heads to Knox City and Abbott (2-1) travels to Waco Live Oak.