Coming off a loss to Griffin, Starr’s Mill might have entered its game against rival Whitewater licking its wounds.
The Panthers’ performance Friday night was more of the rub-some-dirt-on-it and get back in the fight variety.
Senior running backs Nick Brown and Mitch Prowant each went over 100 yards rushing as the Panthers rolled to a 43-21 win, staying in the running for a second straight region title..
“We really couldn’t be more proud of the way we overcame that adversity from last week,” said Starr’s Mill coach Chad Phillips. “Instead of pouting and feeling sorry for themselves, they got after it at practice. We had a great week. They accepted the challenge.”
Prowant scored three touchdowns and finished with 102 yards on 23 carries, while Brown added 137 yards on 20 carries and two more scores. The Panthers (6-1, 2-1 Region 3-AAAAA) rolled up 482 total yards and never punted.
“Give all credit to our offensive line,” Prowant said. “They played their heart out tonight.”
The Panthers beat the Wildcats for the second time in three years, avenging a 43-37 loss in 2016. It was Starr’s Mill’s fourth win in 12 games against its Fayette County rival.
“We kept hearing ‘come off the ball’ all week, it’s going to be a physical game, and that’s what we did,” said offensive lineman Justin Sanders, part of a surge that led to 23 Starr’s Mill first downs. “That’s what we did the whole game.”
Starr’s Mill took the initial lead on its second possession, driving 67 yards in 15 plays and eating up 7:38 of the first-half clock before Brown swept around the left end for a 2-yard touchdown run.
“They did a good job on offense. We couldn’t slow them down,” said Whitewater coach Bryan Holley. “We needed to come up with some stops and we didn’t.”
Whitewater (4-3, 2-1) turned the ball over twice in the first half, and Starr’s Mill turned the second one – Joey Hunter’s interception of a Maddox Mueller pass – into its second touchdown. Prowant pushed in from a yard out, and Joey DeLuca’s two-point run upped their lead to 16-0.
Whitewater answered with a long drive of its own, moving 65 yards on 13 plays to Kyris Barnett’s 1-yard run late in the second period.
Starr’s Mill led 16-7 at the half and notched four touchdowns in six second-half possessions to put the game away.
Wildcat running back Miles Montgomery, who came in averaging 119 yards per game, was held to nine carries for 79 yards, though he did break free for a 51-yard touchdown in the third period.
“We really felt like we’d have a hard time tackling those two backs, which we did to an extent,” Phillips said.
Whitewater quarterback Maddox Mueller rushed for 83 yards and passed for 138, and he had a 59-yard touchdown run wiped out by a penalty.
Whitewater 0 7 7 7 – 21
Starr’s Mill 0 16 13 14 – 43
SM – Nick Brown 2 run (Joey Deluca run)
SM – Mitch Prowant 1 run (Khalen Sims run)
W – Kyris Barnett 1 run (Evan Rogers kick)
SM – Prowant 2 run (run failed)
W – Miles Montgomery 51 run (Rogers kick)
SM – Brown 5 run (Preston Wheeler kick)
SM – Prowant 10 run (Wheeler kick)
W – Maddox Mueller 69 pass to Hunter Williams (Rogers kick)
SM – DeLuca 1 run (Wheeler kick)