Panthers’ upset bid runs out of steam against Beaufort

Fresh off their first win of the season, the Carolina Forest Panthers looked poised to pull another upset against undefeated Beaufort on Friday night.

But unlike last week, when the Panthers scored three unanswered touchdowns to beat Myrtle Beach, this time Carolina Forest watched the Eagles (5-0) do the same to break open a close game.

Carolina Forest quarterback Will Brunson, who threw four touchdowns on the night, made back-to-back TD connections with Zavier Jones and Kyle Belack to cut the deficit to 28-27 late in the third quarter.

But Beaufort woke up and knocked out the Panthers with three successive TDs. Beaufort running backs Eric Blakely and Tarquez Johnson scored their third and second rushing touchdowns of the night, respectively, and the Eagles blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone to break things open.

Brunson added a late TD pass to Jones to cut the deficit to two TDs but it was too little too late as the Panthers defense again failed to deliver for four quarters. The unit shutout Myrtle Beach in the fourth quarter last week to allow the comeback but couldn’t hold off the Eagles’ ground attack.

The Panthers led early on a TD run by Jaharian Davis, but Johnson and Blakely answered with back-to-back TDs to take the lead for good. Carolina Forest twice closed within a point at 14-13 and 28-27 but couldn’t get over the hump. They have a bye next week before opening Region 6-4A play against Goose Creek.

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