In the last weekend of the regular season for high school football in the area, the Newberry Panthers will host the Taylor County Bulldogs as both teams look to build momentum heading into the playoffs next week.
Newberry enters the game with a 7-1 record and already having clinched the runner-up spot in district 7-1A. They’re coming off of a bye week that followed a 24-20 road win at Dixie County.
District 7-1A playoff bound Newberry Panthers pic.twitter.com/tRb13cplpO
— Larry Savage (@SunPreps) October 22, 2016
The Panthers feature a run-heavy offense, led by senior running back Jacquez Jernigan. Jernigan has 12 touchdowns and 960 rush yards on the season, averaging 122.5 rush yards per game. Junior quarterback David Robinson also features heavily in the run game, picking up seven touchdowns and 248 yards on the ground this season. Through the air, Robinson has only attempted 33 passes and averages less than 50 pass yards a game, showing how heavily Newberry leans on the run game.
The defense has also been a major part of Newberry’s success. That side of the ball is led by two Florida State commits on the defensive line, Cory Durden and Ja’len Parks. The duo has combined for 24 tackles for loss and seven sacks on the season.
Even though the Panthers have already wrapped up a playoff spot, Newberry head coach Richard Vester isn’t expecting to rest his players. Vester still plans on using his playmakers, saying his team is going to “play to win.”
Taylor County Preview
On the other sideline sits Taylor County, who also come in having wrapped up the runner-up spot in district 1-3A. They enter the game 5-4 and feature a balanced offense. Junior quarterback Josh Mixon averages 231 pass yards a game and has 16 passing touchdowns on the season. Their run game features a three-man rotation led by senior Willie Elder III. The trio has combined for 1136 rush yards and 7 touchdowns. Vester says that Taylor County has a lot of speed throughout their team, and it’s something the team will need to look out for.
After this game, Newberry will travel to Pahokee for their first round playoff matchup, while Taylor County will travel to Jacksonville to take on Trinity Christian Academy in their first round playoff game.