North Lamar High School football

North Lamar senior quarterback Kobey Emeyabbi (2) hands the ball off to junior running back Andy Kirk (14) during the Panthers’ previous game at Paris High School.

The North Lamar Panthers fell at Paris High last week to fall out of the postseason race. North Lamar was coming off a close win over Sanger along with a bye week, but the Wildcats’ win at home ended the Panthers’ postseason chances as they needed to win out to stay in the hunt.

Panthers head football coach Aaron Emeyabbi said he wants to see his team continue to play hard with a never give up attitude regardless of the adversity, which he believes the ones who have stuck it out in the program have done all year.

“I love their attitude the entire season. They knew what they were up against and faced it,” Emeyabbi said. “That is why they will be great husbands, fathers and leaders of the community one day. Not too many young many were brave enough to endure that challenge. Just like anything else in life, you have a few that could not take the adversity and found their breaking point. I worry that if they do not learn how to handle adversity it could hinder them in the future when they are older.”

The season finale for North Lamar is a game at home against the Melissa Cardinals, who feature several Division I players on their roster. The challenge is just as great this year with most of Melissa’s impact players playing in their senior year.

“They have the best quarterback (Brendon Lewis) in the district and great skill players,” Emeyabbi said. “Melissa has as good of size and speed as we’ve seen all year. The biggest difference maker they have is their quarterback, who will be playing on Saturdays in one of the power 5 conferences in college football.”

The Cardinals and Panthers battled it out in a 50-35 Melissa win last year, where then junior quarterback Kobey Emeyabbi finished with more than 240 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns.

Coach Emeyabbi believes his team can present a similar, if not greater challenge, to the Cardinals as long as his team plays with the same positive attitudes and with discipline on both sides of the ball.

“We have to play to our assignments well and play mistake free football,” Emeyabbi said. “We must find ways to move the chains. If we take care of their big three, be a team first, be the most excited to play and do our jobs, then I like our chances.”

The Panthers host the Cardinals at 7:30 tonight at R.L. Maddox Field.

Geoff Heppes is sports editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6967 or at geoff.heppes@theparisnews.com.

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