A well deserved bye week has the Panthers licking their wounds and trying to heal, after Coach Nickles described the health of the team as, “Beat to smithereens” entering their bye week. Summer workouts, 7 on 7 camps, summer practice, numerous scrimmages, jamborees and seven consecutive games have the Panthers tired, yet still hungry.
The Panthers lost their first game in nearly two seasons versus Hartsville (28-21) on September 29th. That game seems like it was played two months ago, not two weeks ago. The Panthers who nearly overcame a ‘perfect storm’ and stuck around with the #3 ranked 4A Red Foxes. Three turnovers, costly penalties, a special teams touchdown and losing their leading rusher to injury after just one carry, would be a recipe for disaster for the top ranked 2A Panthers. So what was actually lost in that game on the pristine field at Newberry College? In one word…
Everything this team set out to achieve is firmly in front of them. I for one, am eager to see how the Panthers will respond coming off of the bye week. Did the loss alleviate any pressure that the team may have felt? Pressure to be perfect, pressure to not only win, but win by way of blowouts? Will the Panthers experience a hangover game, on the road versus Liberty? Will the loss ignite a fire in the team and Liberty is standing in the way of a 26th Region Championship?
The Panthers enter now Phase two of the season. Region play. Phase one is the non-region, and subsequently, Phase three, is the championship phase. The non-region schedule is behind them and the boys from A-Town boast a 6-1 record. There are three good teams left on the schedule. The last road game of the season is this coming Friday night versus Liberty High School. Liberty is 5-2 on the season. We will post a full Liberty game preview later in the week. Here are some cumulative stats thus far this season.
The Panther offense is averaging 38.5 points per game. That includes 350.7 yards rushing per game and 62.7 yards per game passing. They total 413.4 total yards per game and have out scored their opponents 291-116 this season.
The Panther defense is giving up 16.5 points per game while allowing 185.5 rushing yards per game and 148.8 yards per game through the air, for a total of 334.3 yards per game average.
The Panthers also come out of the gate running. They have outscored their opponents 84 – 30 in the first quarter of games this season. The Panthers are +3 in the turnover margin for the season. They have 10 takeaways and have turned it over 7 times. The Panthers have not attempted a field goal yet this season, but are 33-39 on extra point attempts.
Check back later in the week for a full game preview of AHS vs. Liberty.
God Bless and Go Panthers