Both the Ponte Vedra Sharks and Nease Panthers appear to be carrying some momentum heading into week four of the season.
The Panthers (2-1) bounced back in a big way after a tough loss to Creekside with a dominant 48-6 win on the road against Davenport Ridge Community a week ago.
The 48 points is by far the most the Panthers have scored during the first three games of the season and could be the signs of the offense coming together.
Nate Harry connected with a handful of different receivers on the night, which is one of the most important takeaways from the game, because its to the point where Maddux Spencer can be expected to get his catches and yards, but consistent production from the depth out wide is a vital part of success.
The growth of the passing game will be put to the test in the coming weeks, and it starts when the Panthers travel to Neptune Beach to take on the Fletcher Senators.
One thing that was also clear in the previous win was the fact that the Panthers were firing on all cylinders in all three facets of the game.
The defense has allowed less than 10 points in two of the three games this season and they continue to have multiple players be magnets to the football, including now three interceptions in as many games for senior defensive back Careal Carter.
Sophomore Jacob Curry also continues to shine and has shown a knack for making plays in a variety of ways both in the backfield and in coverage.
The Senators have played a brutal schedule to open the 2023 season, with losses to Mandarin, 43-21, and Tallahassee Chiles, 31-0.
However, the Senators held their first home contest of the year and defeated Jackson 7-0 on Sept. 8.
Jackson is a common opponent both teams have faced, with the games both being defensive slugfests until the very end.
It is unclear whether Senators’ senior quarterback Marcelis Tate will be able to play as he is battling an injury, which will make a difference in the Senators’ approach if he is on the sideline.
Either way, this game can be expected to be one that has the potential to be a close contest all the way to the end, and the team with the last possession could decide it.
For the Sharks, they enjoyed an early season bye week, and it came at a good time because it allowed them to decompress and re-focus following their long bus trip to Tallahassee and emotional victory on Sept. 1.
The Sharks welcome the Middleburg Broncos to the “Shark Tank” on Sept. 15, as they look to get a winning streak going.
The Broncos (0-2) have been known throughout the years as a gritty squad and one that can make life difficult for opponents by playing a methodical style dependent on lengthy drives and time of possession.
However, after going 5-5 and making the playoffs one season ago, the Broncos have started out the year slow with consecutive losses to Hawthorne and Bradford.
A major aspect that has plagued the Broncos in the opening weeks has been the play of its offense, which has only produced seven points in both contests.
A struggling offense like that against a stingy defense like the Sharks is not a good matchup, especially with the Sharks being rested and having two weeks to scheme towards it.
Look for Maddux Babin and company to present several problems for a Broncos’ offense still trying to find its way a couple of weeks in.
The Panthers against the Senators starts at 6 p.m. at Fletcher High, while kickoff for the Sharks and Broncos is set for 7 p.m.
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