Northeast Times

Panther Pride

  • Moving the line: Samuel Fels’ Wesley White powers through for some of his 95 rushing yards against Frankford. Though Fels lost 41-24, the Panthers qualified for the Public League playoffs and will face Southern this Friday night. BRAD LARRISON / FOR THE TIMES

  • Fels QB Aasim Campbell has thrown for 12 touchdown passes in 2013. BRAD LARRISON / FOR THE TIMES

Re­gard­less of the sport, many ath­letes ask about their stat­ist­ics after a game.

Samuel Fels High School seni­or Jy­lil Reed­er isn’t one of them.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t mat­ter what I did,” Reed­er said. “The only thing that mat­ters is what my team did.”

And so, after vis­it­ing Fels dropped a 41-24 de­cision to Frank­ford on Fri­day af­ter­noon, Reed­er wasn’t in­ter­ested in talk­ing about his 131 yards from scrim­mage and three touch­downs on only 12 touches.  

His main con­cern was re­cog­niz­ing that, even though the Pan­thers (2-6 over­all, 2-3 di­vi­sion) lost to the favored Pi­on­eers (5-3, 5-0), they still qual­i­fied for the Pub­lic League Gold Di­vi­sion play­offs. They’ll vis­it South­ern Fri­day at 6:30 p.m, while Frank­ford gets a first-round bye.

“That was our goal from the be­gin­ning of the sea­son,” Reed­er said. “We wanted to make the play­offs. Once you get in the play­offs, any­thing can hap­pen.”

It is quite con­ceiv­able that Fels could meet Frank­ford in the post­season. The Pan­thers are already sched­uled to play the Pi­on­eers on Thanks­giv­ing Day, but that wouldn’t have nearly the im­pact of a play­off game. 

Should they take on the de­fend­ing di­vi­sion cham­pi­on Pi­on­eers in a play­off game, Reed­er thinks Fels will be more pre­pared and more de­term­ined to pave a dif­fer­ent fate.

“They’re a good team,” he said. “They play hard and win a lot. But I think we’re a good team, too. If we elim­in­ate our stu­pid mis­takes, we can beat any­body.”

Against Frank­ford, Fels kept its foe off the score­board un­til seni­or Quin­ton El­lis bus­ted loose for a 26-yard touch­down run with 9:51 to go in the second quarter. Fels re­spon­ded by mov­ing all the way to the Frank­ford 1-yard line, but a false start pen­alty moved the ball to the 6.

The next play sig­ni­fic­antly helped de­term­ine the out­come, as sopho­more quar­ter­back Aasim Camp­bell’s pass in­to the end zone was in­ter­cep­ted by ju­ni­or Devontae Lee. An in­cred­ible 102-yard re­turn later, Frank­ford led 13-0.

“It was a big play,” said Fels coach Bill Har­rigan. “It’s hard to bounce back from something like that. We didn’t give up or any­thing, but we con­tin­ued to make mis­takes that were costly.

“Dropped passes. Turnovers. Pen­al­ties. They are hard to over­come. It’s baff­ling. We’re bet­ter than what we showed, so it’s frus­trat­ing.”

Reed­er agreed.

“We beat ourselves,” he said. “I’m not say­ing Frank­ford didn’t de­serve to win, be­cause they made plays. I’m just say­ing that if we don’t turn the ball over three times and don’t take stu­pid pen­al­ties, I think the res­ult is a lot dif­fer­ent.”

Down 13-0, Fels re­covered quickly. On its next pos­ses­sion, Camp­bell found Reed­er for a high­light-reel 44-yard touch­down con­nec­tion. Reed­er leaped to snare the pass at the 15 and out­ran his de­fend­er to the end zone. At two-point con­ver­sion pass from Camp­bell to ju­ni­or Kor­dell Robin­son cut the de­fi­cit to 13-8.

“We needed to stop them right there,” Camp­bell said. “But we didn’t. It’s an­noy­ing.”

In­deed, Frank­ford drove 80 yards in nine plays be­fore seni­or Mar­quise Po­ston tossed a 14-yard scor­ing strike to seni­or Rene Her­rera. The Pi­on­eers in­creased their lead to 28-8 mid­way through the fourth quarter on a 19-yard touch­down run by El­lis. 

That set the stage for a wild fourth quarter — four pos­ses­sions, four scores. But trad­ing two-apiece touch­downs was not what Fels needed.

“We needed to make some stops,” Har­rigan said. “I’m sure there is some fa­tigue on both sides of the ball at that point.”

Frank­ford coach Will Dog­gett was not pleased with his play­ers’ first-quarter ap­proach. He sur­mised that the Pi­on­eers, who entered the con­test rid­ing a four-game win­ning streak after los­ing their first three, took Fels lightly — this des­pite Frank­ford be­ing without the ser­vices of lead­ing rush­er and scorer Dami­on Samuels (sprained ankle).

Dog­gett praised Fels for its ath­leti­cism, par­tic­u­larly Reed­er and ju­ni­or Wes­ley White, who rushed for 95 yards on 13 car­ries. The op­pos­ing coach’s com­pli­ment did little to as­suage Reed­er’s dis­ap­point­ment.

“Like I said, the only thing that mat­ters is win­ning the game,” Reed­er said. “And we didn’t do that.” ••

You can reach at jknebels@gmail.com.

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