Quarterback Reece Johnson helped account for both Panther touchdowns. He connected with Tyler Smart on a 21-yard touchdown pass with 9:19 to go in the first quarter. Jake Scott added the point after, giving Spring Garden a 7-0 lead.
Johnson later scored on a quarterback sneak with 23 seconds left in the opening quarter. Scott’s extra point made it 14-0.
But then it was all Eagles (1-0).
Jake Lacks got Appalachian on the board with a safety. With 10:49 to go in the second quarter, the Eagles trailed 14-2.
Dylan Schumann returned the ensuing free kick 62 yards for the Eagles’ first touchdown of the night. Junior Guerra added the extra point, pulling the Eagles to within five points at 14-9.
Cameron Cox gave the Eagles their first lead when he caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jeremy Hill. Jacob Chappelle caught the two-point conversion pass from Hill, and with 4:41 to go in the half, Appalachian led 17-14.
The Eagles added to their lead with 2:17 to go before the half when Esgar Covarrubias scored on a 30-yard run. Guerra’s point after was good, giving Appalachian a 24-14 lead at intermission.
The Eagles’ John Ferrara scored on a 3-yard run with 8:13 left in the third quarter for the final score of the night.
Johnson finished the game connecting on 8 of 10 passes for 52 yards for Spring Garden. Smart hauled in five of those completions. Trey Littlefield led the Panthers in rushing, with 75 yards on 18 carries.
Smart also helped lead the Panther defense with four solo tackles (one for a loss), two assists and an interception. T.J. Brittain added seven solo tackles and had five assists.
Spring Garden (0-1) hosts Collinsville next Friday to open Class 1A, Region 6 play.