I hope you all rested up your voices and recovered from the electric, playoff type atmosphere from the Panthers win versus Southside Christian two weeks ago. The Panthers will need each and every one of you this coming Friday night as Hite Stadium will be open for business once again. The #6 ranked AAAA Hartsville Red Foxes will come to town with a very big, very talented football team.
The Red Foxes are one of winningest programs in South Carolina High School Football history. Since 2015, head coach Jeff Calabrese has steered the Hartsville machine to a 52-7 record. They played in the 4A state championship game in 2016 and 2017. They just so happened to run into the South Pointe dynasty in both of those championship game losses. Last season they lost to eventual 4A State Champion, Myrtle Beach, in the Lower State Championship game. From 2011 until last season, Hartsville protected their home turf with a 49 game home winning streak. Abbeville was supposed to play at Hartsville last season, at Kellytown Stadium, but Hurricane Florence had different plans. This Hartsville team returns six starters from last season. Five star Clemson commit Demonte Capehardt transferred to IMG Academy before the season started, but that doesn’t seem to have caused a void. Hartsville is giving up 20 points per game so far on the year. #13 Justin Abraham (6’2″ 230lbs) is their All-State, All-Region, Shine Bowl selection at LB. The senior is big, fast and physical. He’s all over the field on nearly every play. #1 Junior, Dariyan Pendergrass, is their do-everything running back/wide receiver. This young man has a serious skill set and they will get the ball in his hands as much as possible. #5 Owen Taylor made the move from defense to quarterback this season. Hartsville abandoned the Wing-T offense last season and has adopted a H-back Spread offense. In other words, they are going to try to throw it around.
The Panthers (3-0) have been waiting on this game for quite a while. The last loss the Panthers endured was at the hands of Hartville, a 28-21 loss at Newberry College back in 2017. The Panthers and the Red Foxes are 1-1 all time against each other. Abbeville won the 2016 meeting. Since that loss, Abbeville has reeled off 26 wins in a row, and are currently protecting a 37 game home winning streak. The Panthers have not lost inside of Hite Stadium since October 2014. During their last outing the Panther defense held a team that was averaging 50+ points per game and over 500 yards per game to 10 points and just over 200 total yards. They also collected four interceptions, one by Jhalyn Shuler, one by Seth Griffin and two big picks, including the ‘nail in the coffin’ interception by Jeremiah Lomax. The Panther offense has found a groove this season and they are chewing up yards at a nice clip. The running back by committee approach is working well. Martico Jackson leads the team in yards and yards per carry (365yds 9.9ypc), JD Moore leads the team in carries (49) and rushing touchdowns (4). Tyrell Haddon and Quadarius
Guillebeaux both have a receiving touchdown on the year as well. All-region, all-state kicker Dylan Beauford has connected on a field goal and ten extra points this season. His right leg also booms kicks into the endzone at an impressive rate. From top to bottom this Panther team has emerged as a blue collar, smash-mouth group that just enjoys imposing their will on other teams. This team also emerged earlier this week as a ten point underdog coming into this game. It’s been quite awhile since the Panthers were not favored at Hite Stadium.
This game has been tabbed the High School Red Zone Game of the Week. WSPA channel 7 will be filming a Pep Rally Friday morning and everyone is invited. TV personality Christine Scarpelli will be there broadcasting live from 5-7:15am. It’s early, but you can be on tv supporting the Panthers as they wrap up their non-region schedule. It’s going to be a packed house, get there early, be loud and proud and let’s create another electric atmosphere for our Panthers!
As always…God Bless and Go Panthers!!!