The Panthers rolled through the first round of the AA State Playoffs this past Thursday night with a convincing 54-13 win over the Andrew Jackson Volunteers. Hundreds of fans braved temps in the 40’s and a off and on rain storm. The win moved A-Town to 10-0 on the season. The Panthers extended a hand full of different streaks as well. Abbeville has now won 17 games in a row, dating back to the Hartsville loss last season. Abbeville has now won 30 consecutive games inside of Hite Stadium dating back to October of 2014. This year’s seniors also extended their personal/all-time leading playoff record as they now sit at 16-0 in the playoffs. All of that is well and good, but the real story…Those uniforms.
The players have begged to wear the all black combination all season long. Courtney Jackson was quoted in the Index Journal, “I saw them my freshman year in the closet, and I was asking everybody if they want to wear them,” Jackson said. “And they were like ‘Yeah, yeah, that would be a good thing.’ And then Coach Nick finally let us bring them out.”
Coach Nickles also told the Index Journal, “Cortney and those seniors have been begging and begging to wear them,” Nickles said. “As you can tell, they’re outdated. They’re not modern jerseys, they’re rec jerseys. I told them they can if they won the region and we are retiring them.”
The Panthers are undefeated in the all black uniforms, dating to a handful of games from 2006-2009.
As far as the game itself, the Panthers jumped out to a 27-0 first quarter lead thanks to two JD Moore touchdown runs (65 and 27 yards), a Ja’Bryan Sanders 11 yard scamper and a 14 yard pass from Moore to Panther tight end Tillman Allen. The second quarter belonged to Andrew Jackson, for the most part. A couple Panther misques led to a touchdown and two AJ field goals. Moore broke an 80 yard run before getting tackled at the AJ one yard line, and then scored on a QB keeper on the very next play. The Panthers led 33-13 at the half. The 2nd half was all A-Town. I’d like to know what was said in the locker room because the Panthers opened up the second half focused and full of fury. Ja’Bryan Sanders found pay-dirt from 9 yards out, followed by a physical 29 yard touchdown run by Courtney Jackson where he bulled his way though the AJ defense. Robin Crawford sailed in from 34 yards out with 10 minutes to play in the 4th quarter and that was final score of the night as the Panthers enjoyed a round one win, 54-13. The Panthers rushed for 359 yards on 38 attempts.
The defense played lights out, especially in the 2nd half. Cruz Temple picked off Andrew Jackson QB Chas DeBrul twice, Gabe Calhoun got one pick, and the Panther defense recorded five total sacks in the second half. Andrew Jackson was forced to become one dimensional and it fell right into defensive coordinator Tad DuBose’s masterplan. DeBrul finished 21 of 50 passing for 166 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. Andrew Jackson finished with negative 15 yards rushing.
The Panthers will face the North Central Knights this coming Friday, November 16th at Hite Stadium. Game time is 7:30 and the gates open at 6:30. We’ll post a full preview of the 2nd round game later this week. As always…
God Bless and Go Panthers!