It’s so close now you can almost smell it. Jamboree season is in full swing and as of today, we are eight days away from getting the 2019 season underway. The Panthers showcased a bruising defense and a speedy offense versus BHP in the WCTEL Kickoff Classic last Friday night during their 10-7 win. Tomorrow night the Panthers will travel to Saluda to play in the Saluda Jamboree. The Panthers will take on Strom Thurmond in the first game, it starts at 7, and then Saluda and Emerald will play in the 2nd and final contest of the night. Today however, we are going to look at the last four games on the Panthers schedule for this season and conclude our preseason prognostications.
October 11th – Fox Creek
The Fox Creek Predators have never visited Hite Stadium. They had a tough time last season in a new region. Winless in region play and 4-6 overall, the Predators are hungry to rebound from last years disappointing finish. The Panthers handled FC with ease last season walking away with a Thursday night, 50-0 win. FC had some good talent last season, but the Panthers were just too overwhelming in all facets of the game. This year, I look for much of the same. A-town should extend the home winning streak after the dust settles in this one.
Prediction – Abbeville 48 – Fox Creek 6
October 18th @ Silver Bluff
The Bulldogs from Petticoat Junction have never been a pushover. Tough as nails with speed and talent to boot. The Bulldogs finished 5-5 in 2018, and they were virtually in every game they played last season. Their season ended when they lost to Southside Christian in the 1st round of the AA playoffs. SB visited Hite Stadium last year and the Panthers came away with a 36-7 win. But the game was much tougher than the scoreboard indicated. Silver Bluff was one of the most penalized teams in the state last year, and should 2nd year head coach, former Bulldog great, De’Angelo Bryant turn that stat around. The Bulldogs will be a tough out. However, the Panthers have taken care of ‘tough outs’ for quite awhile now.
Prediction – Abbeville 38 – Silver Bluff 14
October 25th – Saluda
The Tigers have not had a lot of luck at Hite Stadium over the last few years. Three years in a row they lost in the Upper State Championship game at Hite Stadium. In fact the Panthers have won seven in a row versus the Tigers and have not lost at home to Saluda since 1997. Saluda returns one of the most prolific quarterbacks in school history, Noah Bell, for his senior season. He’ll be facing a very big, fast and physical Panther defense however. A-Town should be a well oiled machine by the ninth game of the season and ready to hit their playoff stride.
Prediction – Abbeville 31 – Saluda 20
November 1st @ Ninety Six
By the time the Panthers and Wildcats squared off last season, the Wildcats had endured a rash of injuries. What once was a high flying offense, sputtered and was ineffective against the A-Town defense. The Panthers captured their 28th overall region championship that night, and secured a #1 seed in the playoffs with the 38-8 victory. First year Ninety Six head coach Matthew Owens will have nine games under his belt by the time the Panthers come to town. The newness of the offense and defense and personnel issues should be long handled, but I just don’t think it’ll matter. The Panthers have an enormous advantage across both lines of scrimmage and in the skill positions. A-Town rolls to another region championship when the whistles blow to end this one.
Prediction – Abbeville 49 – Ninety Six 12
That wraps up our preseason prognostications. Next week we will publish an official game week preview article for the Abbeville vs Lincoln County game. It’s here Panther fans!! The undisputed, reigning, defending, four time consecutive state champs are almost ready to take the field. Check back with atownpanthers.com all season long for the latest news in Panther Football. Until then…
God Bless and Go Panthers!!!