Panthers win 5th straight football championship
Top-seeded Edythe J. Hayes defeated No. 2 Crawford 38-8 for the 2020 FCPS middle school football championship, which marked its fifth consecutive playoffs title. “I’m so incredibly proud of our Panthers, specifically our team leaders Graham Dunn, Aveion Chenault, and Logan Busson. They really stepped up and had huge games against a well-coached and talented Crawford team,” said Head Coach Nick Payne. “Our eighth graders really kept focused in this challenging year and helped lead us to an overall team GPA of 3.21,” he added. “I can’t wait to watch our Panthers do big things in high school and beyond.”
Aveion’s standout performance featured a touchdown-saving tackle on the first play of the game, two interceptions (returning one 64 yards for a touchdown), two rushing scores on two carries, and a 17-yard reception. “We had two weeks off, so we had plenty of time to get prepared. When it was game time, we were ready to come out and give it our all,” he said.
Crawford had knocked off Bryan Station 10-6 to advance to the final game Nov. 12 at host Lafayette High School, but Hayes dominated the Cougars overall. The Panthers rolled up 13 first downs en route to 280 yards of offense compared to Crawford’s 127. Graham rushed 11 times for 116 yards and a score, and Logan tallied 126 yards on seven carries with a TD. “The line probably played their best game of the year on both sides of the ball and opened up some huge holes,” Graham said, crediting teammates Austin Harmon, Landon Worley, and Lovell Martin.
On defense, Hayes held Crawford to six first downs, recorded eight tackles for loss, and forced three turnovers. Lovell also blocked a punt. The stat leaders were Logan with 4½ tackles (.5 TFL), Graham with 4½ tackles, DaiSean Hanley with 3½ tackles (1 TFL), and Luke DiNardo with 3½ tackles (.5 TFL, .5 FF).
When asked about the Panthers’ successful season, Logan replied, “I wish we got to play more than five games, but I’m just happy we got to have a season and had the opportunity to win another championship!”
(Posted Nov. 16, 2020)