It wasn’t that Magazine couldn’t move the ball in a 20-6 season opening loss at Bigelow Friday night. They just couldn’t finsh a drive.
While protetion breakdowns played a role, more often than not the problem was getting the ball to the quarterback as snap issues resulted in negative yardage plays and lost downs, or turnovers.
Early on it looked like it would be a track meet with the Panthers as the first three possessions all resulted in scores.
Bigelow (1-0) drew first blood with an eight play, 71-yard drive that featured two jump ball passes caught by Addison Brown, the second for a touchdown that made it 7-0.
Tatum Scott, who later left the game with an apparent collarbone injury, responded by returning the kickoff to the Panther 13-yard line.
A bobble on the first snap cost Magazine (0-1) two yards, but Xeng Yang went 15 yards for a touchdown on the next play. A snap problem disrupted a 2-point conversion try to keep Magazine behind, 7-6.
A third huge play from Brady Reed to Brown, this one a 60-yard catch and run, set up a 15-yard Ricky Dunlap touchdown run and with less than seven minutes gone from the opening quarter it was 14-6.
Bigelow got an extra possession by recovering a short kickoff but the Rattlers were able to force a turnover on downs at their 16-yard line.
Following four straight possessions ending in punts the Rattlers were at the Panther 19 when a helmet pushed the ball away from Scott, forcing Scott run down Aaron Harmon at the Rattler 25.
Bigelow again turned the ball over on downs and the Rattlers ran out the first half clock.
Another turnover started the third quarter and Bigelow took advantage with Brown catching his second touchdown pass, this one from 14 yards out, after a penalty had negated one Panther score. The PAT failed but the Panthers led 20-6.
The Rattlers used the rest of the third quarter to reach the Panther 15, only to turn the ball over on downs.
Scott later forced a fumble at the Rattler 3 on what would be his final play of the night, and Tsim Neeg Vang recovered to keep the deficit at two scores.
Magazine drove inside the Panther 10 before a squibbed snap became a turnover, and again reached the Panther 17 on the final drive of the night before two sacks made any miracle finish impossible.
The Rattlers totalled 229 yards with 109 passing and 119 rushing. Yang was 6-of-8, including a 57-yard hookup to Jacob Hall, for 94 yards and Scott connected on all three of his attempts for another 25 yards.
Yang also ran for 64 yards and Caleb Hyatt managed 60 rushing yards.
The Rattlers will look to bounce back against Mount Ida at Diamondback Stadium this week. The Lions won the Class 2A title in 2016 and were the runner-up in 2017.