MT. IDA—The defending 5-2A Conference Champion Magnet Cove Panthers (3-3 overall, 0-1 conf.) suffered a heartbreaking defeat on the road to the Mt. Ida Lions (3-4 overall, 1-0 conf.) 37-36 in their conference opener Friday at Preston Stidman Field for week 6 of Arkansas High School Football.
The Panthers started out rolling with productive play and held a 20-8 halftime advantage. But in the second half, the Lions roared successfully through their veer execution and charged their way back from a 36-16 deficit to edged the defending league champs—Magnet Cove.
The Panthers suffered more injuries Friday with several key pieces unable to play. Mt. Ida managed to take advantage and finished strong to rally back and prevail for the one-point victory.
Magnet Cove Panthers head football coach Caleb Carmilke thought his guys competed hard. But having to make adjustments from key players out hurt the Panthers in their heartbreaking loss.
“We came out hot with a 20-8 halftime lead, but just couldn’t put them away. They [Mt. Ida] played well and made big plays to win,” Carmikle said.
He mentioned the Panthers will have to regroup next week and get ready to focus on Gurdon at home next Friday at Kenneth W. Hammons Stadium.
Magnet Cove’s loss ends their seven-game conference winning streak from last season. Carmikle knows the Panthers are young and he feels they are getting productive experience. Next Friday’s match-up hosting a tough and dandy Go-Devil team will be challenging for the Panthers, but they are looking forward to the challenge for redemption from their Class 2A playoff quarterfinals loss last year to Gurdon.