The Albany Panthers set a franchise record for most points scored Sunday at the Albany Civic Center as they remained unbeaten with a 78-13 rout of the Greenville (S.C.) Force. The 78 points Albany (3-0) scored surpassed the 70 points the Panthers put up in a six-point win over the Lafayette (La.) Wildcatters the previous weekend.
“Our main goal (was) to just a get us a lead,” Panthers head coach Lucious Davis explained, “and be able to not relax, but be able to improve.”
The Panthers did more than simply improve in a blowout win; they made a solid impression on the 3,174 fans who witnessed it.
Robert Kilow started the scoring in the first quarter, as he caught a touchdown pass from eight yards out to give the Panthers a 6-0 lead with 1:26 to play. He finished the game with six catches for 63 yards and three touchdowns.
“(Quarterback Cecil Lester) spread the ball around on offense, (and) did a real good job of reading everything, and delivering the ball,” Kilow said. “It was basically just a great all-around game, and a real good rout. We had a few bumps, but all in all, as far as the offense and defense, we played well.”
Lester completed 18 of 33 passes for 162 yards and four touchdowns. The former Fort Valley State standout also rushed four times for 13 yards and another touchdown.
Albany added to its already large 33-6 halftime lead early in the third quarter, as linebacker Steve Morrison returned an interception 10 yards for a touchdown to make the score 39-6. Morrison attributed that score to being in the right place at the right time.
“Coach told me to go make a play, and if I see the ball, to make a play,” Morrison said. “I see the ball, I broke on the ball, and (made) a big play.”
Wide receiver Isaac West scored the only points for Greenville (2-2) in the game, as he scored on a 42-yard pass play from Mark Logan with less than three minutes to play in the second quarter, which made the score 26-6.
The only other score for the Force occurred just three minutes into the second half when West found himself on the receiving end of a 36-yard TD reception.. That made the score 40-13.
But that was as close as Greenville would get for the rest of the contest, as Albany scored 38 unanswered points.
“We wanted to jump on them early, and we did that,” Davis said. “Our goal was to not to give them any type of confidence, or anything like that, and that (was) our main goal.”
The Panthers will enjoy a second bye week before returning to the Civic Center on Saturday, May 8, for a re-match with the Wildcatters. Davis says Albany will use that time off for much needed healing from injuries, as well as some necessary game planning.
“We have the sense that what we can do, is get a little rest for some of our players, and give me time to study our opponent, find some weak spots here or there,” Davis said. “Also, it gives us time to lick our wounds, (wide receiver) Clenton Rafe is kind of banged up right now, so we need him after this week. So, the two weeks will give us some rest, (so) we can (Rafe) come back after the bye week.”
Being not only undefeated — but also in first place — in the SIFL after three games, Kilow knows that the other teams in the league will be gunning for the Panthers in the weeks to come.
“Everybody wants to beat the best team,” Kilow replied. “Right now, we are the No. 1 team, so it’s going to be a task regardless, we fought to get on top, but now it’s going to be harder to stay on top.”