All phases working together key to finding first victory

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The Nease Panthers are getting oh so close to that first win of the season, and their next opportunity at it will be this Friday at 7 p.m. when they host Fletcher.

The two teams have a history against each other, including a matchup last season, where Fletcher defeated Nease in a narrow 14-13 contest that also decided the district championship.

Things are different this time around, as the schools are no longer in the same district. However, bragging rights remain up for grabs and the Panthers would like nothing more than to return the favor and defend their home field with a victory.

The big plays have been there in the last couple of games for the Panthers, but it is the consistency and mistakes throughout a game that continue to hurt their efforts.

The fact that it has taken three games into the season should not be a surprise, after the Panthers lost so much production and leadership from a season ago.

It is just natural that it will take a little longer than spring and fall practice for each of the units on the team to gel together.

Last week’s five-point loss to Fleming Island demonstrated how dangerous Nease can be once all the pieces start finding success at the same time.

Despite leaving that game with still some things to clean up, the Panthers remained in position to win and had a legitimate shot at the end zone and the win as time expired.

For the Ponte Vedra Sharks (0-2), they are fresh off their bye week and the hope is that they were able to hit the reset button physically and mentally during that time.

They return to action with a road contest against Middleburg (0-3) over in Clay County Friday at 7 p.m.

One thing for sure from the contest is that one of the teams will get their first win of the 2022 season.

Brian Case and Griffin Owen continue to share time in the backfield for the Sharks, who could use an established running game early on against the Broncos to help take some of the pressure off of starting quarterback Ben Burk and the passing attack.

On the other side of the ball, the Sharks will look to continue their stellar defensive performances so far this year.

The pass rush was key in their last game against FSU High, but the run defense will be put to the test against the Broncos, who are led by senior running back T.J. Lane, who is averaging more than 100 yards per game.

Grabbing the early lead could go a long way in forcing the Broncos to play from behind and in turn adapt their gameplan and get away from what they do best.

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