Independence got off to quick start Friday against Providence. How quick? Less than three minutes into the game, the Patriots lead 14-0. They put up 31 more points in the first half, an additional 21 points in the second half, and beat Providence 59-13 on a drizzly, sometimes windy night.

The victory renewed head coach Tom Knotts’ confidence in his team, and something that even he couldn’t dream.

“I don’t think anybody in the state could have beat us,” he said. “I think that ought to serve notice that we’re the top dog, and they have to knock us off.”

The Independence defense shined last night limiting the Panthers to 13 offensive yards on their fist four drives and two first downs in the first half.

“It was just a defensive effort,” cornerback Victor Hampton said. “Coach told us this is the first team that could really beat us this year, and we took that into our hearts. We wanted to play hard, and we did.”

Hampton had a tough assignment defending Providence receiver Braxton Deaver, and had a few opportunities for interceptions. He just couldn’t hang on, but the final score took some of the sting off for the junior cornerback.

Hampton expects football practice to go smoother this week than after the games against Myers Park and Ardrey Kell, but the team will still work hard to prepare for next week.

The Patriot defense “shut down” the Providence offense, Knotts said. It limited the Panthers to seven consecutive three-and-out possessions to open the game and only allowed nine first downs.

Cornerback Breon Thornton intercepted quarterback Chauncey Concepcion on the third play of the Panthers’ opening drive and returned it 35 yards to the Providence 20. The play set-up a touchdown pass by quarterback Anthony Carrothers on the next play.

Despite the slick playing conditions, the Patriots quarterbacks combined for 43 pass attempts. Carrothers completed 22-37 passes for 320 yards and four touchdowns. His second touchdown came only 41 seconds after his first.

Six receivers caught passes from Carrothers, but receiver Lawrence Martin was the leading receiver for the second straight week. Martin’s first catch was the 20-yard touchdown from Carrothers, and he finished with six catches for 92 yards.

Tight end Sebastian Greene caught four passes for 44 yards and two touchdowns. Receiver Michael Rhynes caught two passes for 20 yards and one touchdown.