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As the old saying goes, if it weren’t for bad luck, French Camp wouldn’t have any luck at all.
The Panthers were unable to hold onto a 35-12 lead as Noxapater scored 30 unanswered points to rally and take a 42-35 win on Friday night.
French Camp falls to 2-7 on the season and will travel to Sebastopol on Thursday night.
French Camp coach Nathan Wright said this year’s squad could easily be leading the division but hasn’t been able to win the close games.
“We have beat ourselves all year long,” Wright said. “It was absolutely crazy. I challenged them this week to find a way to win and looked up and it was 35-12 and thought we had turned the corner and were in total control. They they go down and score and we had back to back turnovers. That’s sort of been the story of the season and at the end of the day, we are beating ourselves. We aren’t getting dominated but beating ourselves. We were playing for a playoff spot and kids played hard but just could’t find a way to win.”


Both teams were forced to punt on their first series but French Camp snapped the ball over the punter’s head and gave Noxapater the ball at the 1-yard line. Emmanuel Carter scored on the next play but the two-point try failed and Noxapater led 6-0.
French Camp then responded with a nine-play, 66-yard drive as Ethan Wright hit Avery Summers on a 7-yard touchdown pass.  Reese Churchill hit the PAT and French Camp took a brief 7-6.
Noxapater then responded with a 12-play, 73-yard drive as Emmanuel Carter scored on a 6-yard run. The try for two failed and Noxapater led 12-7.
French Camp struck quickly as Wright hit Avery Summers on a screen pass that the junior turned into a 56-yard touchdown. Churchill’s PAT was good and French Camp retook the lead at 14-12.
After the Tigers turned the ball over on downs, French Camp went driving again, this time going 83 yards in five plays as Silas Hodge scored on a 16-yard run with 2:34 left in the half. Churchill’s PAT was good and French Camp led 21-12 at the half.


French Camp got the bal to start the second half and went 42 yards in five plays. Wright hit Hodge on a 24-yard touchdown pass with 8:21 left in the third. Churchill’s PAT was good and French Camp led 28-12.
The Tigers turned the ball over on downs on their first possession of the second half and French Camp answered with a five-play, 66-yard drive as Wright hit Avery Summers on a 20-yard touchdown pass with 2:31 left in the third. Churchill’s PAT was good and French Camp held a commanding 35-12 lead.
But that’s when things starting going south for the Panthers. Noxapater then responded with a five-play, 54-yard drive as Carter scored on a 1-yard run. Carter ran in the two-point conversion and the Tigers cut the score to 35-20.
After swapping possessions to start the fourth quarter, Noxapater got a big break when Carter scooped up a French Camp fumble and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown. Carter also ran in the two-point conversion and the Tigers trailed 35-28.
On the ensuing possession, Wright threw an interception that Jy Riddle returned 40 yards for a touchdown. Carter ran in the two-point conversion and the Tigers took a 36-35 lead.


French Camp turned the ball over on downs on the next possession when a fake punt failed. Two plays later, Carter scored on a 52-yard run for the final margin of 42-35.
“We knew our only hope for the playoffs was to win and get some help,” Wright said. “That’s what we were playing for. So that loss hurt and put us out of the playoffs. And I can’t blame the effort because it’s been there. We just can’t figure out a way to win and keep finding ways to lose. But we are still a young team and have a lot of kids who have never played football before. Maybe they will learn from this and be better for it next year.”
The Panthers had another good offensive night with 413 yards of total offense with 152 rushing and 261 passing.
Wright was 13-of-19 passing for 261 yards and four TDs as Summers had six catches for 139 yards. Bryce Wilson had four catches for 35 yards while Logan Miller had two catches for 63 yards.
Hodge had 118 yards rushing on 17 catches while Wright had 25 yards on five carries.


On defense, Wright had 10 solo tackles and five assists while Hodge had eight solos and two assists. Logan Wright had five solos and three assists while Aiden Ray had five solos and one assist. Benjamin Wright had four solos and one assist while James Johnson had three solos, two assists and a sack. Casen Shurden had three solos and three assists while Riley Moore had one solo and three assists. Logan Miller each had two solo tackles while Maxwell Bronson and J.D. Leach each had two assists.
This week, Sebastopol
“Everybody has what we don’t have, they have the athletes. Where we have a couple, they have a whole lot. Our thing, we don’t have it up front and seems like they have good kids up front and that has hurt us. I expect our kids to play hard again.
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