Black Panthers are indigenous to the jungles of Asia and Africa. They are apex predators with an innate desire and instinct to stalk and hunt their prey. You see where I’m headed with this, right? The Garnet and Gold Panthers have established themselves as the apex predators of South Carolina High School Football. They’ve successfully defended their home turf 27 consecutive times as of about 9:45 pm last night. The opponent is faceless and nameless. They play the same team every week. Themselves. There’s real belief within the program, that as long as they do what they do, to the best of their ability, the scoreboard will take care of itself. In a nutshell, it’s working.
The Panthers moved to 2-0 on the season and the fashion in which it happened is still a little jaw dropping. The Panthers won the coin toss and deferred to the 2nd half. The combination of Dylan Beauford‘s booming kickoffs, and the relentless Panther defense has spelled trouble for their opponents. It’s becoming a deadly one-two punch here early in the season. Newberry went three and out to start the game and tone was set. The Panther defense allowed 3 yards per rush on the night. They forced and recovered three fumbles, made Newberry punt six times and held the Bulldogs to 1 of 13 on third down. That’s a 7.7% third down conversion rate, if you’re keeping score at home. Continuously facing an 80 yard field, Newberry could muster very little offensively. The Abbeville defensive line was constantly disrupting the Bulldog running backs and quarterback. The defense helped the offense by providing them with great field position the entire game. The A-Town offense’s average starting field position was the Newberry 48 yard line. Newberry’s average starting field position was their own 18.
Ja’Bryan ‘Dooley’ Sanders made the most of his carries on the night. 2 carries 83 yards and 2 touchdowns. Talk about making the most of your opportunities. All told the Panthers rushed for 291 yards and 5 touchdowns. JD Moore flexed his passing skills as well. The junior signal caller finished 3 of 4 for 57 yards and 2 TD’s. First he connected with Quad Woods for a 37 yard score, then Robin Crawford pulled in the second TD pass from 21 yards out. A 21 point 2nd quarter slammed the door on a Newberry team that had no answers for the swarming Panthers. Courtney Jackson and Himize Rayford added additional rushing touchdowns and the Panthers strolled out of game two with a 49-0 victory.
Emerald is next on the schedule. After being ranked #2 in 3A in the pre-season polls, Emerald is still looking for their first victory. TL Hanna beat the Vikings 47-7 Friday night dropping them to 0-2 on the season. Frank Hill Stadium in Greenwood is the location, and kickoff is at 7:30. Bookmark atownpanthers.com and check back often. A preview of the Emerald game will be posted later in the week. As always….
God Bless and Go Panthers.