WARNER ROBINS -- They're ready at Americus-Sumter.
Maybe more than ready.
That was the feeling on the ride home Thursday after the Panthers beat Class AAAA Houston County, 20-15.
"We've beaten two pretty good Class AAAA teams on the road,'' said Americus-Sumter coach Michael Pollock, whose team is 2-2 as they head into Region 1-AAA play next week. "It shows some maturity, getting big wins like that.''
The Panthers, who open region play against Worth County next week, led all night but needed a game-clinching drive in the fourth quarter after Houston had closed to 14-9 with a kickoff return and a safety.
They got it.
Pollock went for it twice on fourth-and-one at his 36, and again on fourth-and-1 at his 49 and got short gains to keep the drive alive, before Wesley Fields broke loose for a 55-yard TD run to ice the game. Fields, a freshman gained 71 yards on five carries -- all in the fourth quarter.
Panther QB Bryce Benton completed 12 of 22 passes for 172 yards and two TDs as Xavier Willis caught a 16-yard TD pass and Johntavian Lawson grabbed a 27-yard TD pass. Willis had three receptions for 76 yards and Lawson had three catches for 37 yards. Johnathon Thomas had four receptions for 41 yards.
"This will give us momentum going into the region, especially after the way we lost the last two games,'' said Pollock, whose team was driving inside the 10 when it lost to Cook, 12-7, two weeks ago and lost a heartbreaker in the final minutes last week, falling to Troup, 12-10.
"We're getting better every week,'' he said. "We've played a tough non-region schedule, and we're hoping it will pay off when we play in the region. I hope it does.''