INDEPENDENCE – It was an almost perfect start for Central’s football team Thursday night against Lebanon.
The Panthers recovered a Warriors fumble on the game’s first offensive play, and Central running back Hunter Chase scored a 36-yard touchdown on the Panthers’ first play from scrimmage to take an early 7-0 lead.
That lead wouldn’t last, as Lebanon defeated the Panthers 40-27.
For much of the first half, it appeared the Panthers were in control.
A pair of touchdown passes from Peter Mendazona to Isaiah Abraham put Central up 20-8 with 8:40 left in the first half, but the Warriors were ready to rally.
Lebanon scored twice to take a 21-20 lead into halftime. The Warriors added two more touchdowns to extend their lead to 33-20 early in the fourth quarter.
Mendazona threw a 29-yard touchdown to Marcos Cedillo to pull within 33-27 with 8:49 left in the game, but it was as close as the Panthers would get.
Lebanon scored its final touchdown to go ahead 40-27 with 1:11 left in the game.
Central (3-4 overall, 1-3 Mid-Willamette Conference) plays at Silverton next Friday at 7 p.m.
For more, see next week’s issue of the Itemizer-Observer.