Week 4 Football Preview

Nease, Ponte Vedra resume district play

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Nease football is flying high following a 49-6 route of Orange Park last week, but now they must quickly shift the focus as they re-enter district play at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17 on the road against Atlantic Coast.

There is not much to critique about the Panthers’ (2-1, 1-0) performance against the Raiders, as they played about as flawless as a high school team can play.

The Stingrays (2-1, 0-0) are coming off a dominant win of their own, 39-21 over Sandalwood, and have showed signs of being a very dangerous team with a 27-24 win against Mandarin to open the season.

However, sandwiched between the wins is a 40-7 loss to Riverside. The Stingrays have shown a tendency to surrender points defensively, having allowed an average of 29.3 points per game through the first three weeks.

Meanwhile, the Panthers have shown an ability to frustrate opposing offenses and have surrendered and average of 16.6 points per game.

Because of this, the Panthers have the defensive edge going in, but do not be surprised if it turns out to be a high-scoring affair.

The Stingrays offense revolves around senior running back Arthur Walker, who ran for 196 yards and 268 yards in the wins over Mandarin and Sandalwood, respectively.

The key to the Panthers’ success in the game is slowing down Walker and putting the pressure on sophomore quarterback Baylor Hayes and the passing game to win the game for the Stingrays.

Striking first and establishing an early lead is also a recipe for success for the Panthers, as it may force the Stingrays to get out of their comfort zone and away from pounding the ball on the ground.

Ponte Vedra also goes on the road to face district opponent First Coast at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17, as they make the trip up to the northside of Jacksonville.

It has been an up-and-down season for the Sharks (1-2, 0-1) offense, which has had both a highly productive outing and ones where it is a battle to pick up first downs and maintain possession.

The consistent presence every week for the Sharks is its defense, which has been reliable, but has been put in tough spots at times having to deal with short fields following turnovers.

They have demonstrated a knack for creating turnovers of their own, especially in the secondary, which has six interceptions on the young season, three by junior Nathan Bunkosky.

Buccaneers (0-3, 0-0) senior Larry Edwards is a dual-threat quarterback that can make plays with his arm and his legs.

Edwards has thrown for 497 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions, something the Sharks will be hungry to change. He also leads the team with 84 rushing yards on 12 carries.

Edwards’ favorite target is shifty wideout and fellow senior Van Adams Jr., who has hauled in 297 yards and three touchdowns on 12 catches.

Despite the rapport between Edwards and Adams Jr., the Buccaneers have only scored a combined seven points in their last two games.

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