BUFFALO -- The Westwood Panthers headed west up Hwy 79 on Friday, looking for win at Buffalo -- and they almost had it. After jumping out to a two-touchdown early lead, the Panthers held on for a one-point advantage after three quarters. Things fell apart for the Panthers in the final quarter, though, as Buffalo rallied and handed them a heart-breaking loss 41-21.
Westwood was on-point in the first half, sparked by big plays by the defense. Bri’Darian Hunt went high to intercept Buffalo quarterback Brett Hoffman on the Bison’s first possession. That set up the Panthers’ first score, a catch 'n run by Hunt on a pass from quarterback Dalton Books. The PAT was blocked.
John Marks had a touchdown-saving-tackle on Buffalo’s next drive as the Panther defense stopped the Bison again.
Another interception, this time by Jackson Munger, set up Westwood’s second score. Tremelle Rhodes punched that one in from the 3-yard-line. Books connected with Tyler Johnson on the PAT to put WHS up 14-0.
Buffalo answered with a TD by James Phillips, the first of four rushing touchdowns for the senior running back. The 14-7 score would stand at half time.
Early in the third quarter, Buffalo's offensive line pushed Phillips into the endzone again. In the conversion attempt, Westwood defenders swarmed in on a bad snap and Westwood kept the lead, 14-13.
Buffalo took the lead late in the third on a 74-yard gallop by Phillips.
Back on offense, Westwood"s Kylance Parish carried for several first downs before the Panthers were stopped on 4th down.
As Buffalo drove back into Panther Territory, James Meadows picked off another Hoffman pass, giving Westwood the ball at midfield. Rhodes picked up several first downs and Books connected with Aneas Page for an apparent touchdown, but it was called back on a penalty. Not to be stopped, Rhodes immediately tied things up with a 58-yard run, and Travis Jones added the PAT kick to put Westwood back in the lead, 21-20, early in the 4th.
That's where the wheels came off for WHS. Buffalo would own the final period of play. Books was intercepted on two deep passes that led to BHS scores, and time ran out with the Panthers fighting for the endzone.