Nease is trying to regroup heading into district play after a rash of injuries and a defensive battle against Bishop Kenny last Friday ended in a disappointing 9-6 loss for the Panthers.
Senior quarterback Preston Staples missed his second game in a row with an injury against the Crusaders and won’t be playing in the district opener against White on Friday night.
“Preston will be out for at least a few more weeks,” Nease coach Tim Krause said in an email. “The timetable is uncertain at this point, but he is doing everything he can to return this season.”
Backup quarterback Joseph Nieves replaced Staples and has shown his versatility with an impressive running game, rushing for 130 yards against Bishop Kenny.
“Joseph ran the football well on Friday and played a very physical game for us,” Krause said. “Any time you have a running quarterback it presents a number of different issues for a defense. I know that he will continue to grow and mature as a quarterback with more experience.”
The Panthers (0-3) will try to turn things around in the Class 6A District 4 opener against the Commanders (1-2), who are coming off a 48-6 loss to Raines.
“As we start district play with Ed White we know that we need to perform better and play much better situational football,” Krause said. “We have shown glimpses of being the team that we want to be and our goal this week is to harness that and consistently perform at a high level. Injuries have forced a number of players into different roles and we know that in order to get where we want to go we will need some of those younger or more inexperienced players to step up for us.”
Nease takes on White at 7 p.m. Friday at Nease High School.