Doc Smith, Sports Correspondent
Jacksonville Daily Progress
Connor Mebane had a highlight reel night Friday at Panther Stadium in Bullard.
The Bullard Panthers' junior quarterback threw for over 200-yards with two of the completions going for first half scores, leading the Panthers to a 21-14, win in District 16-3A action over Gladewater's Bears.
Mebane was 11 of 16 for 221-yards through the air, and added another, 80-yards on 20 carries to total out with a combined 301-yards in the victory.
Mebane and wide-out Micah Hughes hooked up for a first quarter 35-yard score. The duo answered back again in the second quarter for a long, 73-yard catch-and-run for the 13-0, lead for the Panthers at the half.
Two long sustained Gladewater drives in the first half were thwarted by big defensive stops for Bullard (3-2, 1-1 16-3A) inside the 10-yard line. Bullard’s Tony Johnson, Caleb Hallford, Jakob Skelton, and Austin Skelton made crucial tackles to hold the Bears scoreless.
A fumbled punt by Gladewater was recovered by Dillon White to set the Panthers up for the first score, taking over at the Bears 45-yard line. Mebane threw a strike to Hughes three plays later to start the scoring as Zach Aldridge converted the PAT kick, and a 7-0, Bullard lead.
Hughes later ran a streak route down the right sideline, and Mebane uncorked a 45-yard pass, catching Hughes in stride and winning the race to the goal line for the two score advantage.
The Bears (3-4,1-2) rolled up 150-yards on 34 carries in the first half alone but the stellar Panther defense was up to holding the Bears off the scoreboard the first half. The Panthers had 123-yards through the air at the break.
The Panthers made the most of the first possession of the third quarter. The Panthers marched 79-yards before Mebane snuck in from one-yard away to up the count 19-0. The Panthers went for the two-point PAT and Mebane converted for a 21-0 cushion.
Both defensive units made adjustments for the remainder of the period, with Bullard holding the 21-0, lead.
The Bears finally put together a scoring drive of 73-yards with the first possession of the final stanza to make a run at the Panthers.
Running back, Justice Centers blasted up the middle from 20-yards, and the Marcello Jackson PAT kick made it a 21-7 affair.
Centers later capped off a 68-yard Bears drive with a one-yard plunge to tighten the score to 21-14 after the Jackson PAT kick was true.
Bullard ran the clock and kept the ball on the ground the remaining 3:24 of the game to clinch the win.
Bear freshman, Darnell McKnight came on to run for 125-yards in three quarters of play, replacing an injure James Reese.
Bullard 21, Gladewater 14
Gladewater 0 0 0 14 - 14
Bullard 7 6 8 0 - 21
B: Micah Hughes 25 pass from Conner Mebane, (Zach Aldridge PAT kick), 2:48
B: Hughes 73 pass from Mebane, (PAT kick no good), 10:35
B: Mebane 1 run, (Mebane PAT run good), 9:14
G: Justice Centers 20 run, (Marcello Jackson PAT kick good), 10:54
G: Centers 1 run, (Jackson PAT kick), 3:24
First Downs 17 22
Rushes/Yds. 50-231 39-163
Comp-Att-Int 4-11-0 11-16-0
Passing Yds. 51 231
Punts/Avg. 4-32.0 3-37.5
Penalties/Yds 9-65 5-55
Fumbles/Lost 2-1 2-1
RUSHING – G: Justice Centers 18-25; Dylon Mack 2-5; Darnell McKnight 13-77; Nick Canaguier 6-minus-12; James Reese 10-33; Clayton Finley 1-3. B: Conner Mebane 20-80; Austin Skelton 6-20. Dillon White 12-48; Drake Daly 1-15.
PASSING – G: Canaguier 4-11-0-0-51. B: Mebane 11-16-0-2-241.
RECIEVING – G: Centers 1-10; Clayton Finley 2-29; Bailey Glenn; 1-12. B: Micah Hughes 2-108; Zack Eschberger 3-8; Jakob Shelton 2-39; Jared Alsobrook 1-8; Skelton 1-0; White 1-0.