“It’s better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all.” That may be a bit dramatic, but there were plenty of football teams that would’ve loved to be in the playoffs. Fossil Ridge knew love, even if only for one round.
The Panthers lost to Flower Mound Marcus, 57-14 last Friday to end their season at 5-6.
But the game wasn’t out of control until later in the game. It was just 14-7, Marcus, before the floodgates opened and the Marauders went off for 36 unanswered points over the second and third quarters.
Ridge fumbled the ball on the Marcus 8-yard line in the second quarter or the momentum may not have swung as it did.
Backup quarterback Bailey Jackson threw for 220 yards for Fossil Ridge, as Bryce Baccarini was able to play long enough to tally just 8-of-14 passing for 57 yards.
The Marauders stacked the box and forced the Panthers to throw, especially as they were without a key weapon.
Anthony Smith was also unable to play for the Panthers as the team’s leading rusher was sidelined due to an injury sustained in last week’s game. He still finished the season with over 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Smith, a junior, gave it a shot, played just one down and determined he couldn’t go.
“They showed a lot of leadership,” said Fossil Ridge head coach Tony Baccarini, “but give Marcus a lot of credit. We just didn’t have the bullets in the gun and we lost a few more during the game to injury.”
Achieving the goal of making another playoff appearance was a bit of consolation for the Panthers.
“Any time you get in the playoffs, you’re happy. I’m very happy with what the players did with the injuries we had. But that’s not an excuse,” Baccarini said.
The Panthers lost their leading tackler from last year in Week 1 and kept fighting and showed their toughness and character, Baccarini said.
Now, the Panthers will turn in the equipment which many other teams across the state had packed up a week ago. The seniors will meet with Baccarini and those who will be returning will have final meetings with the other coaching staff.
“The seniors showed them [the underclassmen] the ropes and what it takes to get into the playoffs,” Baccarini said.