FAIRBURN — As it had most of the football season, defense once again kept Shiloh in its second-round Class AAAAAA state playoff game against No. 3-ranked Langston Hughes.
But a tough stretch late in the first half allowed the host Panthers to break open a tie game and hold off the scrappy Generals 28-8 Friday night at Langston Hughes.
Three interceptions in the red zone also proved costly for Shiloh, which saw it season end at 5-7.
However, it was an interception of their own that helped pull the Generals even after falling behind 6-0 in the first quarter.
Xavier Wright picked off a pass and returned it to set up a Jamir Imuzai's 2-yard TD run that pulled Shiloh even at 6-all in the second quarter.
However, an interception gave Langston Hughes a short field to set up Antonio Martin's 7-yard TD run with 2:08 left in the first half, and a punt return for a score in the final minute allowed the Panthers to take a 21-6 lead into intermission.
Isaac Prince accounted for Shiloh's other points on a safety after sacking the Langston Hughes quarterback in the end zone, while Wright also had two big receptions of 21 and 18 yards on offense.
And while it wasn't enough, Generals coach Tino Ierulli was pleased with the strides his program made this season, including posting the second postseason berth in the last three years, as well as the first playoff win in 21 years.
“I was very proud of them,” Ierulli said. “The kids started out 0-4 this season, but three games could've gone either way. I think we lost them by a combined 10 points. The fact of the matter is, the fight we put up after going 0-4 (to start) was big.
“(The players) stepped up to the challenge. We're young in so many areas, but I'm so proud of way kids continue to fight. With a young group of kids coming in I like where we're headed. I got text from some incoming freshmen (next year) saying they can't wait to start playing, so that's exciting.”