Lenoir City kicker makes extra points, crowned homecoming queen

Mike Blackerby of the Knoxville News Sentinel                

Lenoir City High School football coach Jeff Cortez misspoke when he said it "was a big night for the boys" following the Panthers' 20-17 win over Pigeon Forge on Friday night.

"That was a little slip there," Cortez said Saturday with a laugh.

It was an even bigger for Lenoir City kicker Hailey Abston.

A Chattanooga women's soccer commitment, Abston not only booted 2 of 3 extra points, she pulled off a unique double at halftime.

"Our kicker was crowned homecoming queen," said Cortez.

"That's kind of cool and kind of unusual. It was a good night for her."

It was also a good night for the Panthers (2-4, 0-2 Region 3-5A), who snapped a three-game losing streak against the Tigers (1-4, 1-1 Region 1-3A).

Bryant Bingham had a big quarterback sack on fourth down at about the Lenoir City 40 with under a minute to play as Pigeon Forge was in desperation mode.

The Panthers got another solid performance by dual-threat sophomore quarterback Gabe Williams.

"He (Williams) had a good night," said Cortez. "He continues to learn and grow."

Lenoir City faces perhaps its pivotal game of the season next Friday at Clinton (1-5, 1-2).

With six teams vying for four playoff berths in Region 3-5A, both the Panthers and Dragons desperately need a win.

"It's going to mean everything," said Cortez.

"If we win it, we feel like it puts us in the driver's seat to get one of the four playoff spots."