PANAMA CITY — It would be hard to construct a hypothetical night that would be much worse than the night Rutherford had on Thursday at Tommy Oliver Stadium.

Bad enough was the 42-18 drubbing at the hands of visiting Vernon that dealt the Rams their first defeat of the season.

The more bitter pill to swallow was the potentially serious injuries suffered by a pair of Rutherford seniors that left their 2019 seasons in jeopardy.

Montell Bouie, Rutherford’s leading rusher in 2018, suffered at least a dislocated ankle while being stopped on an attempted two-point conversion late in the second quarter, according to Rams coach Loren Tillman.

Senior receiver Michael Hughes suffered a neck injury late in the third quarter after diving for a fourth down pass from quarterback Markus Hammack that left him lying on his back on the Rutherford sideline for approximately 10 minutes before being strapped to a stretcher, lifted onto a gurney, and carried off the field.

Tillman said it was too early to know the severity of either of his seniors’ injuries but that spectacle around both made it tough on his players to maintain their focus.

"It kind of wobbles you a little bit," he said. "They’re young men and they have to learn to respond to adversity. I know Vernon is a good football team, but I think we had a hard time playing to our potential after that."

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Vernon running back K’wan Powell

The 5-foot-9, 195-pound junior lived up to the hype with his second straight 100-yard performance to start the season.

Powell rushed 16 times for 128 yards and three touchdowns. His scores of 5 and 28 yards put Vernon up 14-0 in the first half, with his 4-yard scoring run with 3:06 left in the third quarter pressing the Yellowjackets’ advantage to 36-12.

STAT OF THE GAME

15 for 160

That’s the total number of penalties and penalty yardage that the Yellowjackets incurred on Thursday.

An unsportsmanlike penalty after quarterback Dyvion Bush’s second touchdown run to make it 42-12 early in the fourth quarter, followed by an illegal block on the first two-point try left the Yellowjackets in the comical situation of trying get a two-point conversion from the Rutherford 40-yard line.

QUOTABLE

"He looks so much bigger and stronger than he looked last year. He’s really good. He doesn’t always run straight. He can run sideways and backwards. He’s just good all around."

— Rutherford coach Loren Tillman on Vernon running back K’wan Powell

TURNING POINT

Trailing 22-12 coming out of the break, Rutherford’s first drive of the second half stalled at its own 44. Jonathan Walker then attempted a rugby style punt, but his shift to the right led him right to Vernon’s Kesean Powell, who blocked the punt at the Rams’ 27.

Three plays later, Bush found the end zone from 2 yards out, with the two-point conversion giving the Yellowjackets a 30-12 lead.

UP NEXT

The Rams (1-1) will hit the road for the first time this season with a trip to Perry on Friday to take on Taylor County.

Vernon (1-1) will make its home debut Friday against Autauga Academy of Prattville, Ala.