Panthers season ends with playoff loss - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Panthers season ends with playoff loss

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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WALB) -

The Albany Panthers said all week leading up to their playoff battle with top-seeded Alabama they wouldn't be intimidated.

It showed as the Panthers jumped out to a first quarter lead, but the Hammers flexed their muscles in the second, and put the Panthers's season to bed, 61-46.

Albany led 11-3 after the first quarter, but Alabama woke up and did it quickly in the second

Trailing 13-11, the Hammers did what they've done all season: create turnovers.

Alabama pounced on a Derrick Wimbush fumble. A few plays later, they found paydirt to take an 18-13 lead.

They didn't waste time taking the ball away again.

On the next possession, Cecil Lester's pass was tipped at the line and fell into the waiting arms of Alabama's Jeremy Grier, who returned it 17 yards for the TD just before halftime.

The pick-six put an exclamation point on a quarter that saw the Hammers outscore Albany 28-2.

Albany didn't go away quietly though.

The Panthers, off three second half Lester TD passes, cut the lead to eight with 51 seconds remaining. But the Hammers recovered the onside kick, and quickly scored to make it 55-40.

Albany reached the endzone once more, but again, Alabama recovered the onside kick attempt and scored right before the buzzer to put it away for good.

The Panthers finish the 2013 season at 7-6, one game short of their third straight title game appearance.

There is one silver lining of note for Panthers' fans.

Head coach Lucious Davis tells WALB he will return to the Panthers' sideline in 2014.

"We talked last season in the offseason about me staying here," says Davis. "I've expressed to them and they know as long as they'll have me here, I'll be here."

Davis briefly left the Panthers after the 2012 season, citing a desire to be closer to his family in Texas. But GM Will Carter worked out a deal with Davis that allowed him more time with his loved ones, convincing Davis to return.

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