Junior quarterback Chris Burnette threw for five touchdowns to lead a relentless Lake City offense as the Panthers dominated St. James 41-14 on Friday night.
The Panthers (3-1) piled up 463 yards total offense as senior running back TyShawn Baines chipped in 120 yards on 15 carries and the other Lake City touchdown.
St. James, trailing 20-0 after one quarter, rallied within 20-14 with two quick touchdowns in the second quarter, but the Panthers pulled away from there.
“We came out and played well in the first quarter, in the second quarter we stalled a little bit,” said Lake City coach Terell Fleming. “In the second half we did a good job. I was proud of those guys.”
St. James fell to 0-4 and lost starting running back Chris Anderson when the 5-11, 160-pound sophomore was carried off the field with a serious leg injury with 3:28 left in the third quarter.
“We took a toll on injuries tonight,” said St. James coach Robby Brown. “We’ve got to go to the next man up – have a good attitude and go to work, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Anderson fumbled the ball away after a seven-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage in the game, but Sharks held as Lake City turned the ball over on downs at the St. James 30-yard line.
Lake City soon took charge, scoring touchdowns on its next three possessions. Baines opened the scoring with a spinning 14-yard touchdown run up the middle before Burnette threw touchdown passes of 21 and 39 yards to Baines and Molik Brown for a 20-0 Lake City lead after the first quarter.
St. James got on the board with a 52-yard catch and run from Jack Floyd to Trey Myers to pull within 20-7 with 11:10 left in the first half.
After forcing a Lake City punt, the Sharks drove 68 yards in six plays as Berkeley Young found Hayden Davidson on a 12-yard scoring strike over the middle.
Suddenly, the Sharks trailed only 20-14 after John David Vereen’s extra point kick with 7:10 left in the first half.
But moments later, Lake City grabbed the momentum again when Bill Hanna got behind the Sharks defense and hauled in a 57-yard touchdown pass from Burnette for a 27-14 Panthers lead at halftime.
“We hit a few passes there (in the second quarter),” Brown said. “We fought back but then we gave them the touchdown right before the half which was kind of a deflator, when you knew they were going to throw it and they get a deep one on us.”
The Lake City defense ensured there would be no comeback in the second half, holding St. James to 5 yards total offense in the final two quarters.
Meanwhile, Burnette connected for two more touchdown passes in the second half as the Panthers pulled away.
LC – TyShawn Baines 14 run (Keenan Graham kick)
LC – Baines 21 pass from Chris Burnette (Graham kick)
LC – Molik Brown 39 pass from Burnette (kick failed)
SJ – Trey Myers 52 pass from Jack Floyd (John David Vereen kick)
SJ – Hayden Davidson 12 pass from Berkeley Young (Vereen kick)
LC – Bill Hanna 57 pass from Burnette (Graham kick)
LC – Jalen Barr 17 pass from Burnette (Graham kick)
LC – Hanna 13 pass from Chris Burnette (Graham kick)