CARY – On a night Panther Creek senior running back Dorrel McClain topped the 1,000-yard milestone, he was a man for all directions.
He mostly ran north-south as a mature back should, but he mixed in some dazzling cutbacks and east-west running to lead the Catamounts to a 51-14 win over Apex in a SWAC game Friday night at Panther Creek’s field.
Panther Creek improved to 7-2 overall and 4-1 in the SWAC, while Apex fell to 2-7 and 1-4 in conference play.
McClain carried 24 times for 217 yards and one touchdown on a 45-yard scamper down the right sideline to push his season total to 1,202. For the night, he had 11 carries of double digits. He said one of the differences between his game this year and last year is committing himself to running north-south.
“My coach has been teaching me to hit the hole,” McClain said. “Once I get through the hole, then I can look for more running room. I also have to credit my offensive line.”
On the play topped 1,000 for the season, he ran 50-yards plus east-west to net an 11-yard gain. He took the handoff in the middle of the field and broke to the right sideline. When he found no running room, he reversed field, where blockers formed a wall to clear an avenue down the left sideline for a first down.
“I saw the defense was overflowing to that side,” McClain said. “I trusted my field vision and went back the other way. Then I found some running room and guys made blocks.”
Panther Creek quarterback Brenden Magner completed 18 of 30 passes for 194 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions to provide a balanced offense. Alec Slusser caught two TD passes and Javontay Rhoades and Elijah Fairfax one each.
Philip Stone booted the first of his three field goals from 39 yards for 3-0 lead in what was only a 17-7 lead at halftime. His other field goals were 39 and 28 yards.
Panther Creek’s defense held Apex to 19 total yards in the first quarter and only 37 midway through the second period before Grayson Boyd hit Ian Boyd with a finger-tip catch over the shoulder for a 42-yard touchdown pass. That trimmed the Catamounts’ lead to 10-7 with 9:27 remaining in the first half.
The Boyds connected again for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter with Ian catching an 18-yard from Grayson.