Through six weeks this season it has become obvious that the Nease football team is the real deal following a 35-14 home victory against First Coast on Friday night.
The Panthers (5-1, 3-0) get the job done on a weekly basis with arguably the best passing attack and defense in Northeast Florida.
That combination was the main reason they were able to win going away against the Buccaneers (0-6, 0-2) and makes them a dangerous team for any opponent moving forward.
It is hard to tell from the final score, but the Panthers fell down early after opening couple of minutes that included two fumbles on their first two offensive plays and the Buccaneers capitalized with a touchdown pass to go up 7-0.
However, Marcus Stokes hit Dom Henry over the middle of the field, and he turned on the jets to outrun the entire First Coast secondary en route to a 75-yard touchdown strike that tied the game at 7-all and ignited the flame offensively.
From there it was all Panthers as senior linebacker Ben Bogle chased Buccaneers quarterback Larry Edwards out of bounds to force a turnover on downs by the defense.
The offense took over and quickly drove down the field thanks to a pair of long runs by Stokes, the second of which went for a 28-yard touchdown to give the Panthers a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The scores began to pile up in the second quarter as Stokes used his legs once again and this time went 80 yards to the house.
Down 21-7, the Buccaneers took a shot down the field, but Keveon Hodges ran stride for stride with the defender and was able to tip the pass to himself for an interception around midfield.
It eventually led to another scoring drive that ended with Donavan Wilson outleaping a defender to haul in a touchdown pass from Stokes.
The Panthers went into halftime with a 35-7 lead following a 35-yard touchdown along the left sideline from Stokes, who found Henry for the second time on the night.
Stokes finished with five touchdowns in the game, three passing and two on the ground to lead the Panthers.
It was an emotional night for the Nease football program, as they honored former player Joe Bradshaw, who passed away in March, with a tribute video and his family in attendance.
The entire coaching staff wore shirts with Bradshaw’s name and No. 6 on the back.