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Mart 42, Lovelady 16

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Mart’s Neven Hickman (9), De’Traevion Medlock (4), Kei’Shawn Clater (12), Klyderion Campbell (1) and Tristan Holt (17) will try to lead the Panthers to their fourth state championship in five seasons.

MADISONVILLE — Even when you try to play “Keep Away,” the Mart Panthers are eventually liable to chase the ball down and make you pay.

The No. 1 Panthers stretched a surprisingly close game at halftime into another more expected blowout by the end, claiming a win in the Class 2A Division II area playoffs.

Mart (12-0) will next face district mate Wortham (7-5) at 2 p.m. Friday in Mexia. Wortham has beaten a pair of higher-seeded teams in Maud and Pineland West Sabine to reach the third round.

Lovelady used a ball-control attack to keep Mart off the field much of the first half, as the Panthers had only four snaps and no points in the first quarter. Mart eventually took a 14-0 lead on a Trey Powell 34-yard touchdown run and a Powell 26-yard TD pass to Brandon Lundy in the second.

But Mart came out with a fire in the second half, as two third-quarter TD runs from Powell helped the Panthers push the lead to 28-0. Though Lovelady managed to pull to within 28-16 with six minutes to go, Mart had a final push, as Robert Hickman gave the team some breathing room with a 25-yard TD run two minutes later, and then the Panthers iced it with a score in the final minutes.


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