Newberry Panthers Suffer Devastating Shut Out at Home After 3-0 Start to the Season

By Shelby Hickman, Nathaniel Bilgoray and Brandon Hernandez

After a great start to the season, the Newberry Panthers suffered a 45-0 loss at home against the Union County Fightin’ Tigers and will move to 3-1.

For much of the first quarter, both teams put up a strong defensive front, beginning the game with back-to-back three and outs. The first 1st down of the game did not occur until midway through the 1st quarter. With 4:56 left in the first quarter, Union County star running back Rayvon Durant penetrated the Newberry front for a 40-yard touchdown run. On their next possession, Newberry was unable to put any points on the board. The first quarter ended with a score of 7-0 with Union County in front.

To open the second quarter, Union County kicker, Jonathan Edwards drilled a 39-yard field goal through the uprights to extend the Fightin Tigers lead to 10-0. After an unproductive first quarter, Newberry marched into Tiger territory with the help of a big pass interference call. Unfortunately, they were unable to capitalize on this drive after quarterback Keil McGriff was sacked for a 7-yard loss. The Panthers also committed a delay of game penalty, resulting in a 2nd and 22 yards. On third down, McGriff made a big completion and earned some of the lost yards back, allowing the team to attempt to move the chains on 4th and four. They were unable to gain the yardage and turned the ball over on downs to the Tigers.

Rayon Durant Rolls Over Panthers

After taking over, Union County extended their lead to 17-0 after a 65-yard touchdown run from Rayvon Durant. Following the score, Union County’s special teams were able to show their strength by recovering a kickoff return that was fumbled by Newberry. On this drive, quarterback, AJ Cortese, connected with tight end, James Cox, for a 15-yard touchdown reception. The Tigers extended their lead to 24-0 with 3:57 left in the second quarter. On the following drive, the Panthers offensive troubles continued as McGriff threw an interception. Newberry’s defense was able to stop the Union County offense on this drive. At halftime, the Fightin Tigers led 24-0.

Newberry’s Woes Continue on all Sides of the Ball

After receiving the kick-off to open the second half, running back Kaleb Woods attempted to power down the field but fumbled the football, turning it over to Union County. After the turnover, AJ Cortese led his team down the field and took off for a 38-yard touchdown run to extend his team’s lead to 31-0. On their following drive, Newberry committed several costly penalties forcing them to punt. To close the third quarter, Union County running back Jamez Jamison pushed into the endzone for a 1-yard touchdown. The Fightin Tigers led 38-0 at the end of the quarter.

To begin the 4th quarter, the Panthers made their way into scoring position, but McGriff to threw an interception in the end zone which was returned 100 yards for a touchdown, bringing the score to 45-0. Rayvon Durant ran all over Newberry’s defense, once again proving that he is a force to be reckoned with. He totaled 302 yards on 26 carries and scored two touchdowns during this game. Newberry’s costly penalties and four turnovers throughout the game also played a large role in their 45-0 defeat.

Next week, the Panthers will travel to Williston Highschool to face the 4-0 Williston Red Devils.

About Shelby Hickman

Shelby Hickman is a student at the University of Florida studying journalism with a specialization in sports and media.

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