Panthers overcome 17-0 halftime deficit to stun Kirkwood in 21-17 win at home

By STEPHEN GLOVER

Despite being down 17-0 at halftime, the Mehlville Senior High School football team stormed back in the second half Friday night at home for a 21-17 win against Kirkwood.

“It was a tale of two halves,” Mehlville head coach Eric Meyer said. “They (Kirkwood) beat us up in the first half and then we came back to win it in the second half.”

The win for the Panthers (4-1, 4-0 Suburban West) marked Mehlville’s fourth straight win in conference play as Kirkwood’s loss moved the Pioneers to 1-3 overall with a 1-3 mark in Suburban West Conference action.

Kirkwood raced out to a 7-0 lead when DeAndre Buckner scored on a 19-yard run with 9:26 left in the first quarter.

Buckner scored again in the first quarter on a six-yard run with 4:16 left in the quarter.

The tailback scorched Mehlville’s defense for 202 yards rushing on 25 carries.

Kirkwood extended its lead to 17-0 with a 41-yard field goal by Brian Rosser with 4:03 remaining in the second quarter.

The Panthers finally responded with a six-yard touchdown run by Demond Harris with 4:10 left in the third quarter. Harris carried the ball five times for 57 yards while recording six tackles on defense.

“Demond runs the ball very hard and does an excellent job blocking,” Meyer said. “He’s one of the few people that actually enjoys blocking. He really adds a different dimension to our team.”

The Panthers struck again early in the fourth quarter when Justin Talley scored on a 35-yard run with 8:43 left in the quarter.

“We ran a sweep left and they shut it down,” Meyer said. “Justin then ran back and had a couple of our guys blocking. What was a 35-yard touchdown was actually about 60 yards of running for Justin.”

But the biggest play of the game came when Aaron Alexander blocked a Kirk-wood punt to set up the Panthers for a four-yard touchdown run by Talley with 1:57 left in the game.

“Justin’s had a couple of good weeks in a row,” Meyer said. “The blocked punt by Aaron Alexander was obviously huge for us.”

The Panthers return to action at 7 p.m. Friday when they travel to Lafayette for a showdown with the Lancers. The game easily could determine the Suburban West Conference championship as both schools are undefeated in league play.