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Thursday May 28th, 2015 4:05AM

Sanchez boots the Panthers back into the postseason, 38-35

By staff
JEFFERSON -- Luis Sanchez had only kicked one field goal in nine games prior to Friday.

Turns out the sophomore was just warming up.

Sanchez converted the biggest kick of his young career on Friday, nailing a 27-yard field goal as time expired to send Jackson County past Morgan County 38-35 and back into the state playoffs for the second straight season.

"This is huge for our kids to get back into the state playoffs," Panthers coach Benji Harrison said, who is now 2-for-2 in playoff berths for Jackson County since taking over before the 2012 season. "It gives us a little validation for what we did last year and shows we're a program headed in the right direction."

Sanchez was in position to make use of his leg because of a late, 48-yard pass from Jacob Lewis to Layson Giles -- part of an outstanding night for the Panthers offense, which racked up 338 yards passing and four touchdowns behind a 12 of 16 performance from Lewis.

Xavier Harper was his top target, hauling in six catches for 195 yards and all four scores. Giles also caught four balls for 123 yards, while Ben Brissey had one catch for 20 yards.

The Jackson County attack helped the Panthers (4-6, 4-3 Region 8-AAA) to storm to a 28-9 first half lead, but Morgan County stormed back knot the score at 28-28 after halftime. The Panthers responded, taking a 35-28 lead before Morgan County (6-4, 4-3) tied it up again at 35-35.

Jackson County got the ball back with 47 seconds remaining and moved into position courtesy the bomb to Giles.

The Panthers will travel to take on Region 6-AAA champ Blessed Trinity in the first round of the state playoffs next week.
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