CARY — Panther Creek running back Dorrel McClain and defensive lineman J.T. Wise and their teammates demonstrated there is still a place in football for running backs and defense in this age of spread offenses.
McClain and Wise led the Catamounts (4-1) to a 28-7 win over a high-scoring Athens Drive team in a Southwest Wake Athletic 4A game Friday night at Panther Creek.
McClain had 23 carries for 104 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He also caught five balls for 108 yards and one TD.
“Dorrel’s one of the best backs in the area,” Panther Creek coach Sean Crocker said. “We just have to find ways to get him the ball.”
With Panther Creek leading 14-7 early in the second quarter, assistant coach Quincy Pedew saw a way. He called down to Crocker that a wheel route would work.
McClain drifted to the left sideline and broke into a sprint as the linebacker committed inside. Quarterback Brenden Magner hit McClain in stride for a 57-yard touchdown catch-and-run and sudden 21-7 lead with 7:36 left in the game.
Panther Creek’s defense, led by the pressure Wise put on the quarterback and key tackles he made in short-yardage situations, almost had a shutout.
Back-to-back penalties – one pass interference and one a personal foul – contributed 30 yards to Athens Drive’s only touchdown drive. Dominique Lynch scored on a 19-yard when he sidestepped tacklers who had him trapped in the backfield and weaved his way up the middle of the field for the score. He finished with 20 carries for 115 yards for a 7-0 lead with 4:08 left in the second half.
Panther Creek answered with its first scoring drive, but the Catamounts missed the extra-point kick to trail 7-6 at intermission. Magner hit passes of 23 yards and 24 yards – the 24-yarder was on fourth-and-10 from the Jaguars’ 32 – to set up McClain’s first score on a 5-yard TD run.