FULTONDALE — It was a tale of two halves — one that belonged to Kris Lewis, and the other to Khyree Robinson.
Quarterback Lewis scored three touchdowns before halftime on short-yardage runs, while running back Robinson had three in the second half that included a spectacular 85-yard kickoff return, as Fultondale scored a 39-22 victory over eighth-ranked Walter Wellborn on Friday.
Robinson’s return was an ESPN SportsCenter Top-10 Plays moment, as he took the kick on his own 15, broke through a couple of half-hearted tackle attempts, and then ran into some traffic near the goal line. Robinson then put on the brakes, stutter-stepped slightly, and froze the Panther defenders in their places. He then shot through an opening and dashed into the end zone.
It was a move, and a second half, that made first-year head coach Richie Busby shake his head in wonder.
“Khyree was huge there in the second half. We ask kids all the time in big situations to make a play, but goodness gracious — did he make a play,” Busby said. “I guess the good Lord taught him that [move].”
The touchdown came right after the Panthers scored on a quick four-play drive, which itself squelched a long Fultondale march that ended when Lewis threw an interception to his opposite number, Wellborn linebacker/quarterback Landon MacChristie, on the Panther 28. Two plays later, running back Kevin Mixon took a direct snap and ran 49 yards to the 8-yard line, and Chantz Goodman scored two plays later to cut Fultondale’s lead to 25-22 with 4:08 left.
But Robinson’s runback for the score took the wind out of Wellborn’s sails. Despite taking the following kickoff back to their 40, the Panthers suffered a big setback when defensive back Dakota Gravitt committed a personal foul that resulted in his ejection, and also brought about a first-down-and-25 situation that ended with a three and out.