Week 8 Football Preview

Panthers get first shot at district title against Senators

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Week eight of the high school football season is highlighted by a heavyweight matchup of teams with unbeaten district records when Nease travels to take on Fletcher.

The Panthers (5-2, 3-0) face the Senators (3-3, 2-0) at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, in a contest that will likely carry major implications when deciding the champion of District 3-7A.

With a win, the Panthers would have the tiebreaker over Fletcher with one district game to go against Fleming Island.

The scenario exists that the Panthers could clinch the district title with a win coupled with a loss by Fleming Island on the road against First Coast.

“It means everything to have the opportunity to play in a game like that,” Nease senior linebacker Zach Harmon said. “To go from one win (in a season) to one win away from a district title is amazing.”

However, first the Panthers must take care of business against the Senators, who have had their focus ever since the final whistle blew on Nease’s 28-21 loss to St. Augustine last week.

According to Panthers’ head coach Collin Drafts, his team has shown signs of success throughout the year, but he believes they have not yet put a complete game of four flawless quarters together.

“Even with all the points we’ve scored, we haven’t put four quarters together,” Drafts said. “We’ve got two losses on the year, and after losing to Creekside we came back hungrier and rattled off four in a row. We’ve got everything we want in front of us.”

For Ponte Vedra it is all about building off last week, which although the result was a 26-24 loss to Bartram Trail, had several positives the Sharks (3-4, 1-2) can take away from it.

At the top of that list is the play of Nathan Bunkosky, who continues to look the part as a quarterback and seems to be gaining more confidence with more games under his belt.

The Sharks go on the road to face Atlantic Coast (3-3, 0-2), who will surely be riding high after handing Creekside its first loss of the season, 29-14, last Friday.

Can the Sharks’ offense continue to operate a successful balanced attack and move the ball consistently down the field? If the answer is yes that will go well with their stingy defense heading into the final stretch of the season.

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