As the calendar flips to August and fall practice gets underway, you can almost feel the electricity building in the air. Those pads will be popping soon and Friday nights under the lights will be here before you know it. Last week we took a look at the first three games on the Panthers schedule and gave our “Way too early” predictions. Today we’ll look at the next three teams the Panthers will face.
September 13th vs Southside Christian
The Sabers and Panthers squared off twice last season. Those two games, both played at Saber Stadium were by far the most competitive contests of the year for the Panthers. SSC has a huge offensive line, fast and sure handed wide receivers and a quarterback that is full of heart. AHS won the first contest 43-28. Two JD Moore touchdown runs (58yds & 5yds) and a JD Moore to Dooley Sanders TD toss, all in the 2nd quarter, pulled the Panthers away from SSC in the regular season game. The Upperstate Championship game wasn’t decided until one of the most famous plays in AHS history unfolded. “The Return” – a 99 yard kickoff return for a TD by Cortney Jackson, and the subsequent defensive stand with 2 minutes left sent the Panthers to Benedict. Will we see another thriller this year? I think the chances are good. JW Hertzberg returns at QB for SSC. JD Moore is back for A-Town. Both have big lines, stingy defenses and playmakers. The Panthers defend their home turf as well as any team in the country, so I’m giving the edge to the boys in garnet and gold.
Prediction: Abbeville 31 – SSC 24
September 27th vs Hartsville
These teams have met twice at Newberry College. Both teams have won once. In fact, the last time the Panthers tasted defeat, was at the hands of the Red Foxes on September 29th 2017. Last season the Panthers were primed and ready to make the long trek to Kellytown Stadium, however Hurricane Florence had other plans. Devastating flooding from the storm ultimately cancelled the game. This season, the Red Foxes get to come to Hite Stadium in a match-up of two of the most storied programs in SC Football history. Two major players, Five Star 6’5″290lb Demonte Capehart, a Clemson commit and Louisville commit four star Zay Peterson have both transferred. Will that be big enough of an absence to make a difference in this game? How could losing a five star player not be a difference maker? Hartsville is still loaded with talent and Coach Calabrese is one of the best in the biz. The Panthers do have an open date before this game to heal up, rest up and study up on the Foxes. I think a big kick from Dylan Beauford could be the difference in this one.
Prediction: Abbeville 27 – Hartsville 24
October 4th @ Batesburg-Leesville
The battle of the Panthers was one of the most fierce rivalries in the state for years. Dozens of instant classics have developed before our very eyes when these two teams have met each other. Abbeville has won four in a row, including a 55-7 drubbing last year at Hite Stadium. B-L is coming off of a 5-7 season last year and are ready to rebound. There’s always talent at B-L, will they close the gap on the garnet and gold Panthers? Will A-Town handle the pressure of the season’s first region match-up, on the road? I think they can handle business behind their big attacking defensive line led by ‘Bone’ Burton, Gus Hill, Carson Smith and a host of other Panthers.
Prediction: Abbeville 42 – B-L 14
Check back next week as we wrap up our pre-season outlook and predictions with the final four games on the regular season schedule. As always…
God Bless and Go Panthers!