The Wildcats moved to 3-0 with this road win while handing the Panthers their first loss in three games this season.
Wheeler kept its opening drive alive with a fake punt that produced a 30-yard run to the Panthers’ 16. A few plays later JD Barron kicked a 24-yard field goal to open the scoring.
Later in the first quarter Elijah Staley threw a screen pass to Jacobi Green, who raced 42 yards down the left sideline for a score.
The Panthers got on the board early in the second quarter, taking over after a punt and driving to the Wildcats’ 12 to set up Stephan Whitehead’s field goal. Whitehead put up three more points on the next possession, after which Wheeler capped off an 80-yard drive with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Staley to Emanuel Beal, who beat double coverage to give his team a 17-6 lead with 35 seconds left in the half.
Langston Hughes found the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter when Kenny Moxey connected with Jocques Ross over the middle for an 18-yard touchdown pass. Down by 5, the home team elected to kick the extra point but missed.
The Panthers drove into Wheeler territory one last time with two minutes to go, but an interception stopped the threat. A flag was thrown and the home crowd called for a pass interference penalty, but the flag was waved off.
Wheeler travels to Etowah next Friday while Langston Hughes hits the road to face Rockdale County.