The boys are back in town! Yes that’s a hit song from 70’s rock band Thin Lizzy, but it’s also what comes to mind as Fall Camp began this past Friday. Seeing the boys back on the practice field, running though individual drills and getting ready for the season put a smile on my face. Football season is inching closer and closer by the minute.
Over the last couple of weeks we’ve previewed the first six games on the Panthers schedule, and today we’ll take a look at the last four games that the Panthers will have to navigate during the regular season.
Week Seven – Panthers @ Fox Creek
This will be the first ever meeting for the Panthers and Predators on the football field. This game has already been moved to a Thursday night, October 4th, by request of the Fox Creek head coach Derrick Quinn. So, a little Thursday night football in North Augusta, why not? What can we expect on the field? Fox Creek hasn’t given any reason recently that this will be a close game. Last season the Predators finished 6-4 in the regular season before being bounced in first round of the playoffs by Chesterfield. The Panthers, on paper, seem bigger, faster and more experienced. Will that translate onto the scoreboard? My guess is yes.
Panthers 52 – Predators 17
Week Eight – Panthers vs Silver Bluff
Hite Stadium will be open for business once again as the Panthers welcome in the Bulldogs of Silver Bluff. These two proud programs usually put on quite a show when they meet. The last couple of meetings have come via a State Championship game appearance. In 2015 the Panthers defeated the Bulldogs to bring home the first of their three consecutive State Championship trophies. The Bulldogs beat the Panthers in Williams Brice Stadium to win the 2000 State Title. The Bulldogs have been down the last couple of years. A 5-7 record last season and a 3-7 record in 2016 is very uncommon for a program with five state titles, a ton of region championships and a handful of NFL alumni. Word on the street is that Silver Bluff is back on the upswing and the team has some renewed enthusiasm with new Head Coach, Silver Bluff alum De’Angelo Bryant. The upswing is coming for the Bulldog fans in Petticoat Junction, but the Panthers are already where the Bulldogs are trying to get to.
Panthers 38 – Bulldogs 13
Week Nine – Panthers @ Saluda
Three years in a row the Panthers and Tigers have met in the Upperstate Championship game. Three years in a row the Panthers have beat the Tigers on their way to three straight State Championships. This year, a regular season region match-up in Saluda should provide some fireworks. There’s been no love loss in this game over the last few years. Hard fought, tough games that have come down to the waning moments. This game will be no different. Likely there will be a region championship on the line. Playoff implications, home field implications. The tension will be high and the stakes will be higher. I expect a sell out crowd in mid October and I also expect a heck of a game with a playoff atmosphere. Can the Panthers endure a hostile environment and do what they do? Which is physically impose their will against a team that is hungry to take the next step? I tend to lean on experience in big games, the Panthers will have played on the road at sold out Lincoln Co, Emerald and Hartsville before this contest. Give me the battle tested Panthers in a nail biter.
Panthers 24 – Tigers 21
Week Ten – Panthers vs Ninety Six
It’ll be homecoming for the Panthers in the last week of the regular season, and they will host familiar foe and rival, the Ninety Six Wildcats. 2nd year head coach Andre Woolcock seems to have the Wildcats on the right path and improving with every passing week. The match-up has been lopsided over the last few years. The Panthers have won five straight, including last years two games 54-16 and 42-7. Will Homecoming be a enough of a distraction to keep the Panthers from being focused? Can Ninety Six spoil what could be another region championship and playoff run for the Panthers? Not this year. Quality depth is likely the culprit that will catch up to the Wildcats in this one.
Panthers 48 – Wildcats 10
That concludes our preseason previews. Bookmark this page and check back often as we will continue to provide weekly previews, analysis and recaps of each and every game that the Panthers play this season. We’ll be starting with an article later this week previewing the WCTEL Kickoff Classic, which will be held at Hite Stadium this coming Friday, August 3rd at 5pm. Football season is here!! Finally! And as always…
God Bless and Go Panthers!