South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Hayes leads Panthers to victory over Fox

Mehlville High football team will tackle Marquette Friday.

The Mehlville High School Panthers football team held on for dear life in its 14-8 win over the Fox Warriors (0-4) Friday at Fox High School.

The Panthers (3-2) finally scored to take a 7-0 lead with just under eight minutes left in the second quarter after fumbling twice in Fox territory. The second fumble happened at Fox’s two-yard line.

“We’re up six (in the fourth quarter), and we’re not doing a whole lot. So it was scary for a while,” Mehlville head coach Eric Meyer said.

After the Panthers scored to take a 14-6 lead with 3:45 left in the third quarter, they registered three straight three-point plays-and-punt drives before running the clock out for the win on their next possession. Mehlville’s possession following its second score started on its own four-yard line and ended with a Fox safety on a blocked punt.

The Panthers’ free kick gave Fox the ball at Mehlville’s 25-yard line, but the Panthers escaped disaster when Fox running back D.J. Chambers fumbled. Mehlville senior quarterback Zach Hayes saved the Panthers from doom on two fourth-down plays on the Panthers’ two scoring drives.

“He does everything you ask him to do. He doesn’t get selfish and say: ‘I hardly got to throw the ball tonight.’ He’s happy that we won tonight,” Meyer said of Hayes.

Facing fourth-and-13 at Fox’s 35-yard line, Hayes heaved a pass down the middle of the field to sophomore Chase Brown for a 35-yard touchdown pass on the game’s first score.

“It was a little wobbly, but it got there. I was pleased,” Hayes said.

On fourth-and-eight in the third quarter, Hayes dropped back to pass and then scrambled for a 21-yard gain to Fox’s 11-yard line.

The senior found senior running back Troy Parrott for a nine-yard touchdown pass three plays later.

“They were bringing in everybody. They were tight, and we had it all open over top. That’s the best. I love to throw it over to people,” Hayes said.

Hayes threw a season-high 11 passes, and completed four for 72 yards and two touchdowns in the win.

“It’s a great feeling,” Hayes said. “I always go home, and it’s like: ‘I only threw four passes? It felt like a bunch more.’ It’s crazy. I think it’s the adrenaline.”

The clutch performance eased the pain of the two early deflating turnovers, but didn’t erase them.

“Turnovers are never very easy to accept. You never like mistakes. Mistakes almost cost us the game tonight,” Meyer said.

The passing game let the Panthers punish the Warriors on the ground. Brown, Hayes, seniors Remington Grigsby and Troy Parrott and junior Brandon Zufall combined for more than 200 yards rushing.

“We were trying to keep them off balance to open the run,” Meyer said.

Mehlville and Fox were playing for the first time since 2007, and the Panthers left with their first two-game winning streak since week eight of the 2008 season.

The Panthers will take on Marquette (4-1) at 7 p.m. Friday at home.

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