PAOLA — Even without their king, the Paola Panthers came from behind, answered the Piper Pirates on homecoming and came up with a turnover to seal the deal in a 24-19 victory.

Caden Rhamy, one of the Panthers’ leading rushers, was out Friday, Oct. 8. Prior to kickoff Carlie Stallbaumer was crowned queen and Rhamy was named the king. Stallbaumer held a cutout of Rhamy, and his crown and sash were placed on the cutout for pictures.

Paola was clinging to a 17-13 lead in the fourth quarter when linebacker Brody Stewart sacked the Piper quarterback on third down for an 11-yard loss, forcing the Pirates to punt the ball.

The Panthers took over at their own 27-yard line. Jovanni Blackie darted through a hole and sprinted down the near sideline for a 73-yard touchdown run, increasing the Paola lead to 11 points, 24-13.

Piper, sporting three of the fasted backs in the Frontier League, answered with a track-star play of their own. The Pirates completed a screen pass, and it was off to the races for a 64-yard touchdown on their first play from scrimmage, making it a one-score game again, 24-19, with 5:10 left in the fourth quarter.

Clayton Forrest recovered an onside kick by Piper and held onto the football for Paola near midfield. The Panthers, trying to work the clock, faced a fourth down and one. Layton Moore got the first down and a lot more on a 17-yard gain to take the ball to the Pirates’ 24-yard line.

Paola was faced with another fourth down at the Piper 21-yard line and were stopped, turning the ball over on downs with 1:22 on the clock.

Piper threw for 21 yards on first down to move the chains. After an incomplete pass, the Pirates put the ball into the air again when Logan Newkirk picked it off for the Paola Panthers to close out the win.

Paola improved to 3-2 with the upset victory. Piper fell to 4-2.

Quarterback Trey Moala threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Newkirk as Paola struck on its first possession with a 12-play, 66-yard drive. Dominic McCoy kicked the extra point.

McCoy kicked a 23-yard field goal in the second quarter, making it 10-0.

Piper answered with an 84-yard touchdown pass, cutting the deficit to 10-6 at the half.

Piper went 99 yards on 13 plays, capping the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run for a 13-10 lead in the fourth quarter.

The Panthers came right back, marching 69 yards on eight plays. Jovanni Blackie ran for a first down. Moala threw a pass to Newkirk for a 23-yard gain, moving the sticks to the Piper 44-yard line. Blackie had a 16-yard run and a 10-yard run, giving Paola a first down and goal at the 5-yard line. Moala ran for the final five yards, putting Paola back on top, 17-13.

Stewart had a sack to key a huge stop for the Panthers on third down, forcing the Pirates to punt the ball.

Paola added some insurance, scoring on the first play from scrimmage with a 73-yard touchdown run by Blackie.

Newkirk ended the drama, intercepting a pass with 58 seconds left in regulation. Paola took a knee on the next two plays and ran out the clock.

Blackie ran the ball 25 times for 189 yards and one touchdown. He averaged 7.56 yards per carry.

Layton Brandt had 15 rushing attempts for 93 yards. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry.

Moala completed four of six passes for 68 yards and one touchdown. He ran for 9 yards and a touchdown.

Newkirk had two receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown. Landon Taylor caught two passes for 32 yards.

Taylor led the Panther defense with six tackles, including a tackle for a loss of yardage. He also caused one fumble.

Kale Murdock had four tackles. Brody Steward made three tackles, including a quarterback sack. Dalton Picek and Brandt each had three tackles. Maxwell Douglass and Jonathan Earlywine made two tackles each.

Sports Editor Gene Morris can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or gene.morris@miconews.com.

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