The Abbeville Panthers put an exclamation point on an undefeated regular season with a 56-0 drubbing of Ninety Six this past Friday night. From the opening play, a 75 yard touchdown run by JD Moore, until the final whistle blew, the Panthers closed out their 102nd season of football in dominate fashion. AHS finished out their 14th perfect regular season (9-0) in school history and seem to be playing their best football of the season as the playoffs begin this week.
The Panthers will face the #5 seed out of Region 4, the Lewisville Lions in the opening round. Lions head coach Will Mitchell walked into a rebuilding situation and went winless last season, which was the Lion’s first season in 2A. The Lions are 4-6 this season, but have won their last two contests. They defeated North Central 24-16 two weeks ago and in a ‘win and you’re in’ game last Friday, Lewisville beat Chesterfield 34-24. They came from behind in the 4th quarter and punched their ticket to the playoffs. The real story is how injury riddled this team has been this year. They only dressed 19 players versus North Central, and 21 players last week versus Chesterfield. The jury is still out on how many players will make the two and a half hour ride from Richburg, a Rock Hill suburb, to Hite Stadium this week. Demetric Hardin Jr. has been a bright spot for the Lions. He’s basically played every offensive skill position for the Lions at one time or another. He was selected to the Shrine Bowl this year, and won Offensive Player of the Year in the Rock Hill Herald. Containing Hardin is a must for the Panthers who are 2-0 all time vs Lewisville. The Panthers beat Lewisville in the first round of the 1978 playoffs and then again in first round of the 2011 playoffs.
Abbeville hit the turbo button versus Hartville in week 5 and they haven’t let off yet. The Panther offense took a couple weeks to catch up with the dominance that the defense has presented all season. Now however, this team is singing in perfect four part harmony. The offense, defense and special teams are both complementing each other in style, velocity and ferociousness. Since the aforementioned week 5 explosion, the Panther offense is averaging 45 points per game while only giving up 6 per game. Often times the bench is cleared in the 2nd half and valuable experience is being gained by the younger players. The Panthers bread and butter remains the ground game. Panther ball carriers are hitting holes the O-Line opens up to the tune of 328.2 yards per game. JD Moore (105-1,003-11) leads the way in yards and TD’s. Martico Jackson (108-927-7) and Tyrell Haddon (68-626-10) could both feasibly crack the thousand yard mark before the season ends, should the Panthers make a deep run. On the other side of the ball a stingy Panther defense has controlled the line of scrimmage and created turnovers all year. The Panthers have a +15 turnover margin, and are giving up eight points per game on the season. Opposing offenses are 32 for 117 on third downs versus the A-Town D and have only scored 11 touchdowns in 477 total plays. Dylan Beauford continues to shine kicking and punting. The Panther senior is 4 of 7 on field goals, the longest from 47 yards. He’s kicked 32 touchbacks and averages nearly 40 yards per punt. A string of records are in tact as the Panther get ready for the playoffs as well. Here are some of the streaks the Panther are currently protecting.
38 consecutive home wins – 31 overall wins in row – 20 straight playoff wins – 19 straight region wins – 4 State Championships in a row.
Can this year’s senior class become the winningest class in school history? Can they become the BEST EVER with an unprecedented, never done before, 5th straight State Championship? It all starts this Friday night. Survive and advance. Lose and go home. The Playoffs are here. Ring season is here. This is what we’ve all been waiting on. The Panthers begin their march toward history, their #drive4five Friday night at Hite Stadium. Kickoff is at 7:30pm. Gates will open at 6:30pm. Only SCHSL passes are accepted and there is a clear bag policy. As always…
God Bless and Go Panthers!