In Oliver Twist Charles Dickens penned a character named The Artful Dodger, a pickpocket with a knack for evading London police.
Spring Garden's Chaz Pope is a modern-day Artful Dodger.
The Spring Garden receiver/returner ran around, plowed through and even hurdled over Tanner defenders en route to four touchdowns in the Panthers’ 72-21 first-round playoff victory over the Tanner Rattlers.
Spring Garden (10-1) scored nine first-half touchdowns to put the game away before intermission.
Pope took the opening kickoff 79 yards for the score. Then running backs Westin Kirk, Ryley Kirk and Luke Welsh added Panther touchdown tallies before the Rattlers got on the board.
Tanner (6-5) first scored on a Michael Guster 57-yard scamper down the left sideline. After an Isaias Rios extra point, the Spring Garden lead was cut to 27-7 with 8:42 left in the second quarter.
Ryley Kirk then scored two successive touchdowns on 1- and 28-yard runs before throwing 44- and 60-yard scores to Pope. By the time Luke Welsh barreled 8 yards off left tackle in the quarter's waning seconds, Spring Garden held an insurmountable 59-7 lead at the half.
Despite a second-half running clock, both teams scored twice. Spring Garden touchdowns came from a 33-yard Westin Kirk reception and a 2-yard Pope run. Tanner tallied points on a 3-yard Evan Fuqua run and an 8-yard Skylar Townsend reception. When the horn sounded, Tanner's season was over, while Spring Garden advanced to host Red Bay in the second round.
Guster led the Rattlers with 11 rushes for 135 yards and a score.
For the Panthers, Welsh had 168 yards on the ground, while Pope caught four passes for 130 yards.