Initially, it looked like Donoho might be in for a tight contest, but the Falcons put together a dominant performance in the third quarter to run away with 41-20 win.
“In the first half we made some big plays, but we weren’t in sync,” said Donoho coach Shannon Felder, who ran off the field after the second quarter with a 19-12 lead thanks to a last-minute touchdown after a botched punt from Spring Garden gave the Falcons great field position.
“Starting in the third quarter, we started executing on offense a little better,” Felder added. “Our backs started hitting those holes a little better.”
Senior Teddre Williams led the way for the Falcons, scoring a touchdown on a 14-yard run halfway through the third quarter, igniting the beginning of the end for the Panthers.
But it was really the two-point-conversion after the touchdown that was most impressive. After scrambling backwards on the handoff, Williams broke a tackle, leaped over his own fallen teammate and forced his way over the goal line to make the score 27-12.
In all, Williams scored three of Donoho’s six touchdowns. It could have been even more impressive if a 51-yard run in the third quarter wasn’t rescinded after a late personal foul call against the Falcons.
Although a Panther drive chewed up most of the clock in the first quarter, three touchdowns in the first minute of the second quarter marked the signs of an early slugfest with the defense taking the night off.
After a Falcon touchdown kicked things off in the second half, the Panthers countered with a one-play drive with running back Forrest Livingston carrying the ball 72 yards for a touchdown.
Not to be outdone, the ensuing drive saw the Falcons complete three plays in 16 seconds, capped by a 24-yard touchdown reception from Williams to freshman Justin Foster.
With the score line 13-12, things settled down with the Falcons defense finally getting into rhythm.
With almost six minutes to go in the half, senior Matthew Overton managed to get a hand on a Panther punt attempt, and Zachary St. Clair recovered deep in Panther territory. A quick interception ruined a chance to lengthen the lead, but with 35 seconds to go, the Panthers botched another punt after a miscued snap.
When the Falcons took over at the 19-yard-line, quarterback Marshall Ghee pitched the ball to Williams who connected with Walker Mason for a touchdown just before the half.
Spring Garden managed to pull one back late in the fourth quarter, although the drive ate up over eight minutes from the clock, and all that was left for Donoho to put a ribbon on the game was to take a knee.
Tate Thomas led the Falcons with 15 total tackles. Jackson Hodges had 14 and Matthew Overton has 11.
The loss puts Spring Garden 1-4 on the season, while Donoho improves to 4-1.
Donoho takes on Appalachian next week.
Star staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546