GLADEWATER – In the District 7-4A, Division II opener, Gladewater jumped out to a quick 16-0 lead and built that to a 32-point halftime lead over Spring Hill.
But then the Panthers flipped the switch in a 29-point third quarter and made it a fourth-quarter ballgame.
In the end, the Gladewater lead was too much to overcome as the Bears defended the turf at Jack V. Murphy Bear Stadium with a 38-35 win over Spring Hill.
The win pushes Gladewater to 2-4 on the season. The Panthers, meanwhile, suffer their first setback after a scorching 5-0 start through non-district.
Isaiah Davis led Gladewater’s ground attack with a 175-yard night, notching two first-half touchdowns for the Bears. Ajan Harris chipped in 76 yards, including a 33-yard scoring scamper for the Bears, who led 38-6 at halftime.
Daniel Badger threw two touchdown passes in the win for Gladewater, hitting Tyler Glenn and Braiden Vickers for scores.
For Spring Hill, Gage White had two long touchdown strikes, both going to Dayson Adaway on catch and runs of 50-plus yards. Kiante Stoker scored twice in the third quarter and Zach Tulpha had a 55-yard scoring run en route to a 139-yard night on the ground for the Panthers.
Gladewater struck first and added to its lead after recovering an onside kick. Spring Hill responded with a quick score on a White-Adaway connection for a 16-6 Gladewater lead after the first quarter.
Badger had a touchdown pass, Davis added his second scoring romp and Harris rounded out a 22-0 season quarter for Gladewater.
Stoker opened the third quarter with two scoring runs for Spring Hill. White’s second toss to Adaway ended in paydirt and the Panthers got a safety, which was followed by a long run from Tulpa as Spring Hill scored 16 points in rapid succession to make it a three-point game heading to the fourth.
Both defenses recorded stops in the final frame with Gladewater halting the Panther’s comeback big inside the final minutes.