A combination of injuries and turnovers plagued the Lenoir City High School Panthers (0-3, 0-1 Region 4-5A) on the road Friday night en route to a 56-23 loss to the Soddy Daisy High School Trojans.
The Panthers were led by freshman quarterback Brett Cortez, who finished 24-of-48 for 248 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Junior receiver Dusty Clevenger led the LCHS receiving corps with seven receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown. Senior Xavier Patrick had three receptions for 51 yards and a score.
Junior quarterback Zane Ward helped provide a spark by switching over to receiver/tailback, finishing the game with 20 carries for 96 yards and seven receptions for 61 yards.
Lenoir City struggled up front after losing two starters along the offensive line.
“The big blow was we also had two fumbles in returns — one kick return and the other was a punt return,” Jeff Cortez, LCHS head football coach, said. “Well, that might not have been the biggest blow because Braden Mealer broke his foot during the week and (one player) went on quarantine. Losing two linemen in one week was rough.”
The Panthers’ next game will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home against the Carter High School Hornets. The 2020 homecoming court will be recognized at halftime.