Nease quarterback Preston Staples continued his return from injury with a big performance in the Panthers’ 42-14 conference-opening win against Ed White last Friday.
The junior finished 11 of 12 passing for 222 yards and four touchdowns, and ran for another score to complement the Panthers’ strong run game.
“Preston played extremely well, which allowed us to play a complete game offensively,” Nease coach Tim Krause said. “We rushed the ball for 220 yards as a team. Being able to be more balanced on offense will really help us build on the success we have had running the ball early in the year.”
Nease (3-3) got the momentum going early against the Commanders, opening the game with a successful onside kick.
“We chose to onside kick to start the game based on things our special team coordinator Steve Condit noticed on film,” Krause said. “Our kids did a great job executing the kick as a unit and got us off to a great start.”
Standout running back Jareem Westcott had another big game, rushing for 202 yards. The Panthers’ win ties them with St. Augustine atop the District 4-6A standings.
“Going 1-0 in district play was our goal and definitely sets us up well for the next three weeks,” Krause said.
Nease takes on winless Middleburg (0-6, 0-1) on Friday, before next week’s showdown against undefeated St. Augustine, but Krause says the team isn’t jumping ahead.
“Our kids are focused on playing our standard of football and being a team that is continually ascending,” he said. “We know that the only thing we control this week is our effort in preparation and our effort on the field versus Middleburg. We have a good group of senior leaders who I trust will keep our eyes focused in the right place.”
Nease plays at Middleburg at 7 p.m. Friday.