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70 years in the making: Panthers claim first football State Title!

The Perry Panthers’ varsity football team played the Stockbridge Tigers in the AAAA State Championship Game earlier tonight at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the result was a Maroon, Gold, and White victory to claim their first state title in program history… winning 38-27.

The Tigers took the opening kickoff and drove over 80 yds downfield and scored on a TD pass and the PAT made it 7-0 Stockbridge with 5:51 left in the first. Perry got the ball and they responded with a quick sub three minute drive capped by an Ahmad Gordon one yd rush TD on a fourth and goal and the PAT tied the game at 7 with 3:19 remaining in the first.

Going into the second, the Maroon, Gold, and White made a 26 yd field goal to take their first lead of the game 10-7 with 8:39 left in the first half. Stockbridge would come right back down the field to retake the lead with a TD and the PAT would make it 14-10 Tigers with 1:43 remaining in the first half.

The Panthers would answer immediately on the kickoff that would be fumbled and then #50 for Perry Gesha’nn Heard picked up the fumble and ran the rock into the endzone for a wonky kickoff return TD and the PAT would make the score 17-14 Perry with 1:27 left in the half and that would be the halftime score.

The Panthers received the second half kick and would convert a huge third down play and later Ahmad Gordon ran the rock in from two yds out for a TD and the PAT made it 24-14 Panthers with 7:23 remaining in the third.

The Tigers answered somewhat quickly as they scored on a rush TD and the PAT would make the score 24-21 Perry with 4:42 left in the third quarter after Colter Ginn threw an interception a few plays earlier. The Maroon, Gold, and White would answer right back when Dakari Anderson scored a 5 yd rush TD and the PAT made the score 31-21 Perry with 1:31 remaining in the third for which would be the score going into the fourth.

The Panthers were able to get a stop and give the ball back to their offense. Perry would keep the ball on the ground and ate up the clock and Ahmad Gordon put the final nail in the coffin with a 15 yd TD scamper and the PAT made it 38-21 Panthers with 4:14 remaining in the game.

Stockbridge scored a pass TD with 1:05 left in the game and the 2-pt try would be no good and the score would be 38-27 Perry. The Maroon, Gold, and White recovered the onside kick and with two QB kneels, were able to run out the rest of the clock to capture their first state title in the program’s 70 year history.

The Panthers finish 2023 at 13-2 overall while Stockbridge wraps up 2023 at 12-3 overall. Let the good times roll for the 2023 GHSA AAAA Football State Champion Perry Panthers!

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