The Nease Panthers lost a tight battle on the road to the Fletcher Senators, 27-21, and may have an interesting quarterback situation brewing.
The first half was a defensive showdown with the Panthers (2-2) trailing 14-7 after a crazy first half that included a pair of turnovers by the Panthers and a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, as junior Elisha Luckett continued to be a difference-maker on special teams from week to week.
Luckett even dropped the ball initially as he attempted to catch the kickoff, but then he picked it right up and received some nice blocks from his teammates and used his pure speed to run across the field and down the left sideline.
Both first half turnovers, a fumble recovery by Zyon Barrett and an interception by Cade Papineau, occurred inside the 20-yard line as the Senators (2-2) approached the red zone.
However, the Panthers were unable to take advantage of the turnovers and had trouble picking up first downs consistently in the first half, which led to a quarterback change in the final minutes of the second quarter as they searched for some answers.
Bryce Frick entered the game at quarterback for the Panthers and came out in the second half and helped orchestrate a feisty effort by the Panthers, who went toe-to-toe with a strong Fletcher squad.
There was a certain never give up attitude that Frick brought to the contest, and it seemed to resonate amongst his teammates.
That attitude was backed up by some excellent play, including a well thrown ball down the middle of the field to Maddox Spencer who out-raced the secondary for a touchdown strike.
The Panthers defense did a nice job at standing tall against a physical attack by the Senators, who stuck primarily to a ground game approach with star quarterback Marcelis Tate not playing due to an injury.
After two straight weeks on the road, Nease returns to the Panther Den to face Orange Park High beginning at 7 p.m. on Sept. 22.
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