There’s still some fight in Providence High’s Panthers.
The Panthers rallied from a 16-point third-quarter deficit to shock East Mecklenburg 31-30 in a Southwestern 4A football game Friday at Dick Williams Stadium. Bryce Porzenski’s 26-yard field goal with 5 minutes, 45 seconds to play provided the margin of victory. The win was Providence’s (1-3, 1-0) first of the season, capped by a 17-0 run to close the game.
The Panthers converted a couple of key third downs and a fourth down during the go-ahead drive, with quarterback Jack Cherry (10-of-24, 188 yards, 2 touchdowns) running for clutch gains and converting a 23-yard pass to Matt Smith along the way. East Meck (3-2, 0-1) drove to Providence’s 8 in the final minute behind the running of Khamal Howard (36 carries, 165 yards, TD), but a 25-yard field goal try with 35 seconds left sailed wide.
East Meck linebacker T.J. Elliott returned two interceptions for touchdowns to put the Eagles in position to win. His first return, an 18-yarder, tied the score at 7-all in the first quarter, and a 13-yarder pushed East Meck to a 23-14 advantage in the third.
Khalil Gilliam’s 38-yard strike to Prestige Edwards put Providence in a 30-14 hole.
Providence gave East Meck all it could handle in taking a 14-13 lead into the break as both sides converted takeaways into points. The Panthers turned a muffed Eagles punt into Julian Boddie’s 3-yard run for the game’s first score. Elliott’s interception equalized the score.
Records: Providence is 1-3, East Mecklenburg is 3-2.
Worth mentioning: Cherry completed 7 of 14 passes for 153 yards and a score in the first half. ... East Mecklenburg won the turnover battle 3-1, with interceptions accounting for every takeaway. ... Boddie rushed for 97 yards and two scores on 17 carries. The Panthers outgained East Meck 196-115 in the first half.
What’s next: Providence will host Olympic in a conference game. East Mecklenburg will play at home against league rival Independence.
PROVIDENCE 14 0 8 9—31
EAST MECKLENBURG 7 6 17 0—30
P—Julian Boddie 3 run (Bryce Porzenski kick)
EM—T.J. Elliott 18 interception return (Christian Thomas kick)
P—Drake Deiuliis 13 pass Jack Cherry (Porzenski kick)
EM—Khamal Howard 4 run (kick failed)
EM—Thomas 38 FG
EM—Elliott 13 interception return (Thomas kick)
EM—Prestige Edwards 38 pass from Khalil Gilliam (Thomas kick)
P—Mayowa Ogunmola 4 pass from Cherry (Cherry run)
P—Boddie 23 run (pass failed)
P—Porzenski 26 FG