The Panthers overcame adversity on and off of the field and “kept it rolling” with the assistance of some late special teams miscues from the Riverside Pirates to earn a road win 23 – 3 at Riverside’s Linny Wrenn Stadium Friday night.  Off the field Orange High School classmate Cam Thompson was in an accident that left him in critical condition during the Panter JV game.  Coach Smith and the Panthers dedicated the win to Cam and his family.  On the field Panther starting quarterback Rodney Brooks was injured  planting his leg on an option play on the second drive of the game and never returned.  The depth of Orange Panthers was never more evident when Senior backup quarterback Brendan Huss entered the game and 5 plays and 30 yards later the Panthers were on the board with a Francisco McKinley field goal.  Huss finished the game 8 for 11 with 90 yards while being extremely poised through the evening.

Tailback Marvante Beasley did not play until the second quarter due to undisclosed reasons, however, took no time making an impact upon entering the game.  Beasley, with a fresh set of legs became instant trouble for the otherwise very effective defense of the Riverside Pirates.  Marvante ended the night with 121 yards on 20 carries through only 3 quarters.

Senior outside linebacker, and Tarheel commit Payton Wilson began to literally take over the game defensively in the fourth quarter making one big defensive play after another.  Wilson entering the game averaging 14 tackles per game and has generated 10 tackles for loss in 3 games.

The Riverside Pirates (3 – 1) under new head coach Cory Lea were extremely effective through 3 quarters.  Defensively the Pirates had 7 tackles for loss through 3 quarters with perfectly timed blitzes at various times.  Offensively the Pirates were effective in moving the ball, however, could not finish their drives through the evening stalling several times within the Panther 35 yard line.  The dagger for the Pirates came in the fourth quarter when 2 errant punt snaps gave the Panthers field position within the 30 yard line twice.

Orange Athletic Director Michael McCauley was our halftime guest and post game interviews with Coach Van Smith, injured QB Rodney Brooks, tailback Marvante Beasley, OLB and slot Payton Wilson, and QB Brendan Huss capped off the successful night for the Panthers.

The Panthers head to Southern Durham to open their Big 8 3A Conference schedule in two weeks while the Pirates head to Angier, N.C. to take on Hammett Central.  The 97.9 The Hill broadcast crew heads to Carrboro High School next week to take on the East Wake Warriors with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

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Coach Van Smith and Coach Cory Lea Pregame Interviews

Orange Panther Coach Van Smith Pre-Game Interview

Tigers prepare to battle the Riverside Durham Pirates


Riverside Durham Pirate Coach Cory Lea Pre-Game Interview

Pirates prepare for perennial powerhouse Panthers