• Brian L. Barefield

Prairie View uses late score and turnover to defeat Texas Southern in Labor Day Classic

Photo Credit/HBCU Classic Sports

PRAIRIE VIEW – Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern faced off in the Annual Labor Day Classic this past Saturday. Yes. You are correct in asking yourself isn’t this the month of March.

Due to COVID-19 Health and Safety protocols being implemented by the Southwestern Athletic Conference, the start of football season was delayed from the Fall of 2020 to the Spring of 2021.

Prairie View A&M (1-0, 1-0 SWAC) defeated Texas Southern (0-1, 0-1 SWAC) in the Labor Day Classic 20-19 at Panther Stadium. The Panthers are now 7-1 since 2013 against the Tigers in the Classic. It was the season opener for the Panthers who had a limited home crowd in attendance.

The Panthers took advantage of a Tigers turnover early in the game to take a quick 3-0 lead on a 31-yard field goal by kicker Luis Reyes. RB Ahmad Antoine helped Prairie View increase their lead to 10-0 after a 3-yard run into the endzone. A stout defensive effort led to a field goal block by the Panthers who would use that momentum to take a commanding 13-0 lead late in the second quarter.

Texas Southern finally managed to get on the board right before the end of the half as quarterback Thaddeus Peyton connected with wide receiver Jonathan Giles on a 3-yard pass. That would cut the deficit to 13-7 heading into halftime.

Prairie View used another strong defensive stance in the third quarter to halt a TSU scoring drive as the Panthers forced a fumble, but their success would be short-lived as the Tigers defensive unit used some pressure of their own to record a safety in the end zone bringing them within four points of tying the game as they trailed 13-9.

Photo Credit/PVAMU Athletics

With momentum now on their side, Texas Southern would finally lead for the first time in the game when Peyton found wide receiver Osby Mitchell in the back corner of the end zone on a four-yard pass to put TSU up 16-13 midway through the third quarter. They increased their lead to 19-13 early in the fourth quarter on a Richard Garcia III field goal from 38-yards out.

The Tigers would hold on firm to the lead until late in the quarter. Prairie View was down to what seemed to be their last possession facing 4th and 18 just outside of the red zone before quarterback Trazon Conley converted the nearly impossible feat with a pass to wide receiver Chris Johnson. Running back Kristian Mosely helped the Panthers regain the lead when he scored from four yards out with 1:40 remaining in the game.

Senior defensive lineman Desmond Obi, who had recovered a Tigers fumble earlier in the game, would become the hero of the Labor Day Classic when he stalled a TSU drive with a forced fumble that was recovered by senior linebacker Storey Jackson to seal the victory for the Panthers.

The next game for the Panthers will be March 13th in the State Fair Classic against the Grambling State Tigers.

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