Spalding broke its 7-game losing streak to end its season with a 2-7-1 record while the Panthers end their rough year at 0-10.
Spalding scored TDs against Forest Park in all three phases of the game — on offense, defense and special teams. The Panthers were woefully shorthanded Thursday, as 16 of them were suspended from the team for fighting about two weeks ago. Out of those 16 Forest Park players, at least 7 of them were veteran starters.
Spalding showed no mercy on the youthful Panthers squad. Trae Moran got the party started with a 39-yard touchdown pass to senior Anthony Bush, who weaved his way through Panthers defenders for the TD at the 8:08 mark of the first quarter. The point-after was good by freshman kicker Trey Gregory for the 7-0 lead.
After Bush sacked quarterback Kyle Bailey on third down, Forest Park punted and Spalding’s Phillip Goodrum returned it 42 yards for the TD and the 14-0 lead. On Forest Park’s next possession, their running back fumbled and Bush was right on the spot, scooping the ball and running 30 yards for the TD and the quick 21-0 first-quarter lead.
The Jags put this game away in the second quarter as Thomas scored his TDs from 1, 26 and 46 yards for the 42-0 halftime lead.
The Jags defenders, especially Bush, Greg Thaggard and Larry McCord held down Forest Park in the first half. The Panthers got their only first down of the half with 22 seconds left. Spalding’s Rodney Jackson intercepted Bailey in the second quarter.
Spalding played its young players in the second half and they played hard. Forest Park’s points came on two TD runs from running back Brandon Williams and a Cody Hiel TD catch and 2-point conversion.
“It feels great to win our last game, especially since it’s my last one here at Spalding,” Bush said. “We’ve had guys who didn’t play this season and things like that, but for the most part the guys here have worked hard, practiced hard and never gave up. I love this group of guys.”
Thomas, who might have broken the Spalding rushing record (269 yards) if he would’ve played the whole game, said hard work and dedication fueled Thursday’s win.
“It feels really good to end my junior year with a win. We’re like a family and I’m sure we’ll use this to do well all season next year,” Thomas said. “I love our team.”
Jags head coach Nick Davis said his team persevered despite key injuries.
“The guys never quit. We couldn’t afford to lose guys but we did with Jevaris Jones and Jake Jeffcoat and others, but we fought hard and played hard all year,” Davis said. “The young guys got a chance to play in this game and they should be psyched to play next season.”
Date Opponent Time
8/31 Lamar Co. T 3-3
9/7 Rutland W 20-13
9/21 @ Locust Grove L 14-0
9/27 Dutchtown L 24-21
10/5 @ Upson-Lee* L 31-10
10/11 @ Riverdale* L 21-0
10/19 @ Jonesboro* L 32-7
10/26 North Clayton* L 12-0
11/2 Griffin* L 42-0
11/8 @ F. Park W 42-22
* — Region 4-AAAA, Div. B