Panthers look to finish season on high note at West Nassau


With one game remaining in the Nease football season, Panthers head coach Tim Krause has a simple message for his team.

“Finish strong,” said Krause. “We ask so much of those kids. They put so much into it that we just want them to finish on a good note.”

Nease (2-6, 1-3) will look to do exactly that on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. at West Nassau (4-6, 2-2) in a makeup game that was postponed in early October due to Hurricane Matthew.

The Panthers will play the Warriors after losing on Nov. 4 to the Bartram Trail Bears 36-14 on Senior Night – a game in which Nease again had trouble stringing together momentum on offense and was unable to score until midway through the fourth quarter.

“It’s tough walking away with a loss on Senior Night, but I think this next week will show a lot about our character,” said wide receiver Jayson Sowden after the loss to the Bears. “Playing on a Thursday is never easy. It’s the last game for us seniors.”

Sowden said he agrees with his coach on where the team needs to focus.

“Finish,” he said. “It’s the last one for us so you gotta finish.”

Quarterback Leighton Alley, who completed 32 of 46 passes for 272 yards against the Bears, was on the receiving end of Nease’s first score, which was a product of a reverse pass by wide receiver Ashton Wood. The senior signal caller, who also rushed for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, said he loves his team regardless of the disappointing season.

“We got knocked down a couple times, and I feel like we always got back up,” said Alley. “We’ve been through a lot together. We know what it’s like to have success and what it’s like to have bad seasons so we’re able to keep fighting when things are down.”

Bartram Trail head coach Darrell Sutherland was also complimentary of Nease’s fighting mentality after the game on Nov. 4.

“There’s no quit in them,” said Sutherland, whose team will play Ocoee on Friday, Nov. 11, in the first round of the state playoffs. “You can tell: Coach Krause’s demeanor and personality are rubbing off on those guys. They’re going to be a very good football team for years to come.”

Regardless of how the season finale against West Nassau plays out, Krause is proud of how his team has persevered and feels they’ll be able to learn from this season’s adversity

“I hope they recognize that sometimes it doesn’t always turn out as you plan,” he said. “But you gotta keep fighting, trying and clawing. I think they’ve done that, and I think that will prepare them well for life.”