The Claiborne High School versus Cumberland Gap rivalry was held on October 28, and it was the Bulldogs getting the convincing 43-14 victory. What was expected by many to be a close game was just that through one half of play. Claiborne jumped ahead on their first offensive play of the game. Cole Jones took a handoff and went the distance for the touchdown. Claiborne’s point after was no good, 6-0.
Cumberland Gap answered that score with one of their own. Kyle Figueroa ran in the first Panther touchdown, but the conversion failed making the score 6-6.
Moments later, Jones burst down the field with another long touchdown run to the delight of the home crowd. Vince Bolden made the point after increasing the Bulldogs lead to 13-6.
Just before halftime, Cumberland Gap scored when Jacob Brown crossed the goal line. Brown added the conversion, and the Panthers took the lead for the first time, 14-13. The score remained 14-13 as the teams went into the locker room at halftime.
Both Cumberland Gap and Claiborne’s band had their time on the field to show off their talents and hard work.
There was only one score during the third quarter and that was a Claiborne score by Ryan Olson. Olson ran in the two-point conversion as well making the score 21-14.
The final quarter was unkind to the Panthers as Claiborne scored again with Olson and Bolden’s point after making the scoreboard read 28-14.
Zay Gerrells then found paydirt on a run and the point after was added by Bolden, 35-14.
The final touchdown of the night also belonged to Claiborne as Landen Poore scored on a run. Dalton Long was asked to enter the game as a running back and he blasted into the end zone completing the two-point conversion. The score was 43-14 and that was the last time the digits changed except for the seconds. The student section then counted down the seconds and then celebrated the big victory on the field with the Bulldogs. The final score was 43-14 but didn’t represent how hard the Panthers had played.
Elevation presented players of the game awards to the Panther’s Brown for his defense efforts. Claiborne’s Zay Gerrells for his offensive efforts and the Most Valuable Player Award went to Cole Jones. Jones finished with 11 rushes for 204 yards and two touchdowns and 18.5 yards per carry.
After the game Coach Medlin talked about how his team did this season despite adversity off the field and injuries, “It was really surreal to come back together and have the team play how they were capable of. They have come through more adversity than probably any team I have ever had.”
Medlin also spoke about giving his linemen a chance to run the ball late in the game, “They always tell me how they were the best athletes on the team, so we celebrated them by putting them in the backfield and they actually did pretty good.”
The Panthers will move on to the playoffs, but Claiborne played their final game of the 2022 season. Below are a few game action photos:
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