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Magnolia defeats cardinals 45-24

MAGNOLIA DEFEATS CARDINALS 45-24

Magnolia beating Camden Fairview 45-24 on Friday night would lead to an automatic assumption that the Panthers offense was on fire. It was, but it was really the Magnolia defense that shined at Panther Stadium. It accounted directly for one touchdown, came up with turnovers that led to two more scores, and generally kept the visiting Cardinals caged. Camden Fairview’s final 16 points came late when the outcome was not in doubt. The win could be a season-maker for the struggling Panthers, 2-4 overall and 1-2 in Class 5A-South. Teams usually need at least three conference victories to fall into a No. 4-seed for the playoffs. Magnolia has games remaining against Hot Springs, Watson Chapel, De Queen and Hope. Watson Chapel and White Hall lead the league with 3-0 records, but Magnolia has a fair chance to win the rest if the Panthers perform like they did on Friday night. Magnolia’s defense made a statement during Camden Fairview’s first possession. The Magnolia kickoff was out-of-bounds, setting up its opponent at the 35. Camden gained four yards but lost it all with a penalty on the next play. A pass incompletion followed and on third down, Keynan Davis brought down quarterback John Dawson for a nine-yard loss. Magnolia took the fourth-down punt at its 44. Running back Kaden Roach immediately sprang for a 15-yard gain, followed by an eight-yard run by quarterback Parker Ribble. Back-to-back encroachment calls gave Magnolia another first down. Roach ran for three yards and Jamal Heard ran for 10 yards to the Cardinals 9. Roach hit the left side of his line and ricocheted to his left, racing to the end zone and a 7-0 Magnolia lead following Jose Guzman’s extra point with 8:21 left in the first quarter. The five-play, 56-yard drive took 2:13. Camden Fairview responded quickly, needing only 1:44 to go 62 yards in seven plays. The big play was a 21-yard gain by Jonathan McCoy. Running back Chris Hargraves scored on a 15-yard run. He also ran for a conversion to give the Cardinals their only lead, 8-7, with 6:30 to play in the first quarter. There were no more scores until the end of the half, but the game wasn’t boring, either. Following the Cardinals touchdown, Magnolia punted but Sam Jones’ kick and a penalty put Camden Fairview on its own 24. That didn’t bother Hargraves, who ran for 24 yards, followed by a 25-yard pass reception from Dawson. But a holding call and losses caused by the Magnolia defense pushed the Cardinals back. The Panthers Jalvakus Warren body-slammed Dawson on third down at the Magnolia 48. The Camden punt appeared to pin Magnolia at its own 9. A few plays later, Ribble threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Lynn. A penalty on the play nullified the score, but Magnolia did get a first down inside Camden territory. Magnolia lost possession on a fumble recovered by Camden’s Kyron Hillard at the Cardinal 27. Camden Fairview reached the Magnolia 14 on the drive but on fourth-down and 8, Kristin Lee tackled Hargraves in the backfield for a three-yard loss. The teams traded punts with Magnolia regaining possession at its 27. Runs by Ribble and Mykosky Jones made first downs, and Jones picked up yardage combined with a penalty good for 23 yards to the Camden 16. Roach scored on a four-yard run with 33 seconds left in the half. Guzman kicked the extra point. The seven-play drive took 1:37 for a 14-8 lead. The Cardinals were not content to sit on the football and it cost them. On second down at the Camden Fairview 30, Dawson looked right and lofted a short pass. Magnolia’s Tyler Brown tipped the football, caught it and had nothing but open turf to the end zone. The Guzman kick gave with 14 seconds left gave Magnolia a 21-8 lead. Magnolia had high hopes of immediately building on its lead with reception of the second-half kickoff but had to punt. Sam Jones’ kick flew and rolled 55 yards to the Camden Fairview 18. Two plays later, T’Kobe McDonald recovered a Cardinals fumble at their 20. Quan Martin rushed 14 yards to the Camden 4. Roach rushed for a four-yard touchdown, but for the second time in the game, a Magnolia score was called back by a penalty – in this case a chop block. Magnolia settled for a 26-yard Guzman field goal with 7 minutes left in the third quarter, and a 24-8 lead.