It’s playoff time!

Panthers, Sharks host first round matchups


It is playoff time and both the Nease Panthers and Ponte Vedra Sharks are set to open the first round this Friday and they will do so in front of their home fans.

As district champions, the seventh-seeded Nease Panthers earned the right to host their first-round matchup against the No. 2 Niceville Eagles on Nov. 10 at 6 p.m.

It seems that all the Panthers (7-3) do is win big games lately, with two consecutive victories to end the season and clinch their first district title since 2015.

Although the Panthers understand the significance of that, the senior class wants to leave even more of a legacy, and that starts by beating the Eagles to start their journey of a deep playoff run.

The Eagles finished the season with a record of 8-2 and feature a high-scoring offense that averages 40.4 points per game, including three contests where they surpassed the 60-point mark.

However, the Eagles played an interesting schedule, in which they only two road games, and one of them wound up being one of their two loses.

This presents an intriguing situation because there is still some doubt of how the Eagles will respond, especially since they have to make the long trip roughly four and a half hours to the First Coast, which includes having to cross a time zone as Niceville is located in the Central Standard Time Zone.

The FHSAA attempts to accommodate for teams in the Panhandle of the state by pushing the start of the game back one hour, which is why it begins at 6 p.m. instead of 7 p.m., but it is still a daunting task for any team making that trip along Interstate-10 either East or West.

For the Ponte Vedra Sharks, they made it into the postseason as a No. 4 seed and will face a very familiar foe in the form of the Creekside Knights, who they just faced last week and lost 26-21.

However, that game was hosted by Creekside (6-4) and this time around it will be played in the Shark Tank.

So not only will the Sharks (7-3) have the home field advantage behind them this time, but they will also have the odds in their favor, because so many times throughout history sports have given instances where it is difficult to beat a team twice, but especially if the two squads met just one week ago.

But the one thing that is for sure is that it will be a close contest, as both teams proved to be evenly matched, and they both present quite the formidable challenge for the other.

The Knights will be looking to ignore that history and write some of their own by replicating the success they found, and the Sharks will be anxiously ready to correct the little mistakes they made that could have swayed the outcome of the contest.

With both teams knowing each other and what the other wants to accomplish so well, which coaching staffs and players will be able to adapt more quickly will likely be the winner.

In most games the adjustments are made at halftime, but in this matchup adjustments will be made prior to kickoff in practice and then once again at the halftime break.

Nease Panthers, Ponte Vedra Sharks, football, playoffs