The Panthers only led
7-0 at the half, but put the game out of reach over the final 18 minutes. Southwest DeKalb’s defense, which held the Falcons to a total of minus-11 yards rushing in the game, intercepted one Pebblebrook pass in the end zone and another at the 1-yard line to cancel scoring threats.
Disappointed Pebblebrook head coach Tommy Macon said it wasn’t difficult to determine where his team fell short against Southwest DeKalb.
“It’s all about assignment football,” Macon said. “We missed assignments on their two long touchdown runs (65 and 48 yards) and with their speed, you just can’t do that.”
As can be expected in opening games with two new head coaches, penalties and turnovers marred this game. There were a total of 20 penalties and Pebblebrook quarterback Dezmond Huntley threw three interceptions on the night.
After a tight first half, Southwest DeKalb (1-0) went up 14-0 on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Marquise Gilmore to Marques Ealey late in the third quarter. The win was all but assured when Malik Wright broke through the middle of the Pebblebrook defensive line for a 48-yard touchdown run with 7:29 left in the game. Following Wright’s scoring run, Marvin Ellis kicked the third of his extra points on the night.
Although his team came away with the shutout victory, Southwest DeKalb head coach Buck Godfrey wasn’t completely satisfied.
“Our defense really stepped up big (Friday), but we still made way too many mistakes,” Godfrey admitted. “We have some real tough kids up front on the offensive and defensive lines, and they gave a great effort (Friday).”
Because the Panthers shut down the Pebblebrook running game, the Falcons were forced to throw the ball all night. The results were mixed, as Huntley finished the game 12-for-31 with the three interceptions and 131 yards.
Wright finished the game with 92 yards rushing on 11 carries and one touchdown for Southwest DeKalb. The Panthers gained a total of 268 yards on the ground.
Southwest DeKalb capped the game’s scoring on the final play, when Demarcus Jiles sacked Huntley in the end zone.