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Junior Panthers claim OVCMS title

CHESAPEAKE — The Junior Panthers gave a major effort.

The Chesapeake Junior Panthers 14-13 opening game win over the Symmes Valley Junior Vikings made coach Chris Ball happy, but left him unsure of what was ahead.

“After the first game of the season I said to our coaches, ‘I don’t know if we’re going to win three or four games this season.’”

“But Symmes Valley had a good team and they play so hard against our kids.”

What ensued was six more wins as the Junior Panthers finished 7-0 and with an Ohio Valley Conference Middle School championship.

In the second game, the Panthers had a surprising 34-22 win over Huntington, W.Va.

Josh Browning — who had two touchdowns catches in the opener — and Chad Meadows each ran for more than 100 yards against Huntington.

“After the Huntington game it raised some eyebrows and we felt we had a good group of linemen, a quarterback, good leaders, and a very opportunistic bunch that never gave up. They understood the challenge in front of them and responded,” said Ball.

Meadows three TDs and a defensive effort led by Hayden Straight and Quinton Harris led a 34-0 shutout of River Valley.

Simeon Combs threw a touchdown pass and Meadows ran for another in a 14-12 win over Rock Hill.

Combs threw for a score, returned a fumble for a touchdown, and had an interception as the Panthers beat Coal Grove 24-0 to win the Little Brown Jug. The defense held the Hornets to less than 100 yards of offense.

Next came a thrilling 22-20 double overtime win over South Point.

Combs threw a 38-yard TD pass to Josh Browning as time expired to send the game into overtime. Jerad Browning recovered three fumbles and Meadows had a big game out of the “Tebow” formation to secure the win.

“It was a wild game, but it was one of the better games I’ve been involved in at any level,” said Ball.

Chesapeake capped the season with an 18-8 win over Fairland.

Combs threw TD pass of 23 yards to Browning and 77 to Meadows for a 12-0 lead, but Fairland got within 12-8 and was driving. But Browning ran back an interception 65 yards to seal the win.

“We had a little bit of talent and a hard-working bunch and they were dedicated to winning,” said Ball. “And our assistant coaches (Robbie Isaacs, Tyler Marcum) did a great job.”