PARADISE — Ponder survived a thrilling game against Paradise, as the Panthers missed a last-second field goal in a District 5-2A matchup to give the Lions a season-ending 22-19 victory.
Ponder (3-7, 1-5 district) began the game with high energy in the running game, first with quarterback Brady Anderson running for 5 yards, followed by a 70-yard touchdown run by running back Trey Dunlap to end their first possession.
Paradise (1-9, 1-5) responded by using a balanced offensive attack, which ended with quarterback Dillon Meadows hitting receiver Cash Preather for a 43-yard touchdown.
On their next possession, the Lions used their effective running game with huge runs by Christian Worthington and Dunlap to set up them up deep inside Panthers territory.
Then Anderson ran it in on a 3-yard quarterback sneak to give the Lions a 14-6 lead.
“We played really fast paced in the first half, and both teams played really well,” Ponder head coach Glen Schuelke said.
In the second quarter, the Panthers marched down the field and scored on a 4-yard run by running back Austin Hogan. Later in the quarter, Hogan scored again, this time on a 36-yard run to take a 19-14 lead at the half.
The second half slowed down as the defenses came to play, and both teams could not get any offense generated. Paradise threw costly interceptions to give Ponder great field position. The Lions would take advantage of the turnovers, as Dunlap scored on a 3-yard run.
The fourth quarter was scoreless, but still had a lot of drama from both teams. With just a three-point lead late in the fourth quarter, Paradise drove down the field to try get in field-goal position.
But senior Spencer Waldo made the play of the game and picked off Meadows.
However, the Lions gave the ball back after a Dunlap fumble, and Paradise threatened to score on a last-second field goal that would have sent the game into overtime, but it failed and the game ended.
“I’ve been waiting all year to get an interception; I was the only guy who hadn’t got one all year,” defensive back Spencer Waldo said.
The Lions end their season with their first district win of the year.
“We played well enough in the second half to get it done and these kids deserve it,” Schuelke said.
Ponder 22, Paradise 19
Ponder: Dunlap 70 yard run, DeLeon Kick good
Paradise: Preather 43 yard catch from #4, Carmichael kick good
Ponder: Anderson 3 yard run, DeLeon Kick good
Paradise: Hogan 4 yard run, Carmichael kick no good
Paradise: Hogan 36 yard run, 2-point no good
Ponder: Dunlap 3 yard run, 2-point good, 2 yd run by Dunlap
Rushing: Paradise, Austin Hogan 28-166 yards, Tanner Valentine 11-60 yards, Chris Hill 4-31 yards, Kristof Pewitt 1-2 yards, Jarett Holt 1-12 yards
Ponder, Brady Anderson 10-48 yards, Trey Dunlap 18-145 yards, J.J. Torres 1-0 yards, Christian Worthington 5-75 yards
Passing: Paradise, Dillon Meadows 7-18-3 113 yards, Tanner Valentine 1-1-0 7 yards
Ponder, Brady Anderson 6-10-0 33 yards, Trey Dunlap 0-1-0 0 yardsReceiving: Paradise, Tanner Valentine 3-20 yards, Cash Preather 2-64 yards, Skyler Clawson 1-15 yards, Kristof Pewitt 1-7 yards, John Bridgeman 1-14 yards
Ponder, Spencer Waldo 1- 12 yards, Christian Worthington 5- 21 yards,