CLARKSTON -- As important as momentum is in football, it can be a fickle companion and switch sides in an instant.
It's a lesson Parkview learned the hard way in its season opener against Stephenson.
The Panthers had the No. 6 state-ranked Jaguars on the ropes late in the third quarter, but a key sequence of three plays in a 1:30 span coaxed momentum into Stephenson's hands.
And with big plays from SEC-bound skill players, the Jaguars used that momentum shift to escape with a 14-3 victory Friday night at Hallford Stadium.
"It's just stuff that happens," Panthers coach Cecil Flowe said. "You've got to make good on those opportunities, but I was proud of our kids standing toe-to-toe with these cats. Nobody gave us a chance. We had a shot to be in the game."
The Panthers (0-1) had a shot at more after taking the second half kickoff and driving 62 yards in 11 plays before settling for Zack Kammer's 27-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 6:21 left in the third quarter.
And Parkview had a chance to increase that lead by taking its next possession as deep as the Stephenson 28.
"We were kind of flat after halftime," Stephenson coach Ron Gartrell said. "I didn't like the type of swagger our kids had coming out of halftime. It showed on that first drive (Parkview) had."
But the Jaguars got their swagger back after forcing a fumble to stop the Panthers' drive at the 29.
On the next snap, Mike Davis finally got the Stephenson offense, which had been bottled up by Parkview almost the entire evening, going.
The Florida-bound running back broke a couple of tackles and weaved his way through the Panther defense for a 71-yard touchdown run that vaulted Stephenson in front 7-3 with 1:56 left in the quarter.
And after holding Parkview on three plays on the next series, the Jaguars got another jolt of lightning from an SEC commitment.
This time, it was Kentucky-bound Demarcus Sweat, who fielded a 42-yard punt form Hunter Thornton at his own 25 and beat the Panthers' pursuit to the corner before sprinting for a 75-yard return for a score that made the score 14-3 with 26 left in the period.
Davis finished the night with 159 yards on 17 carries, though 95 of those yards came on two big runs.
Parkview wasn't able to generate much offense on the evening, though the Panthers had their moments, led by quarterback Jack Esmonde, who completed 9 of 18 passes for 141 yards with an interception, with Colby Smith catching three of those completions for 49 yards, while Patrick Flowe (60 yards) and Jordan Reid (23 yards) had two catches each.
Neither team could muster much offense in the first half.
In fact, Parkview's biggest offensive weapon may have been punter Thornton, who boomed a 74-yard blast that pinned Stephenson back to its own 2-yard line with 6:26 left in the half.
But a 24-yard run by Davis got the Jaguars out of the shadow of their own end zone, and a 15-yard facemask penalty and a 38-yard completion from Justin Holman to Sweat set Stephenson up at the Parkview 27.
The Jaguars moved as deep as the 21, but two big pass breakups -- one by Shaq Vereen and another by Reid -- the latter on fourth down -- kept the game scoreless.
Stephenson got one more shot after recovering a fumble on the Parkview 28 with 1:14 left in the half.
But once again, the Panther defense stiffened, forcing the Jaguars into a 27-yard field goal attempt that failed, leaving the game scoreless heading into intermission.