Coach Edward Johnson addresses his Newberry Panthers after a win. (Kyle Fansler/ESPN Gainesville)

The Newberry Panthers Steamroll the PK Yonge Blue Wave, ruining the Blue Waves Senior Night

In a Friday night lights dog fight, the Newberry Panthers hoped to act as the villain and crash PK Yonge’s senior night. The Panthers showed a diverse offensive attack and a strong defensive front, dog-walking the Blue Wave 42-14.

Mike Moore Stakes his Claim as an Elite Panthers Defensive Back

PK Yonge looked to do damage in its opening possession, but could not get anything going to start the drive. It tried to establish the run, but Newberry’s D-line was an immovable force. The Blue Wave abandoned ship and looked to get the air attack going, but were met by a Newberry secondary that was determined to stand its ground. Quarterback Adrian Curtis dropped back to pass, airing one out deep, but was picked off by defensive back Mike Moore. Newberry then took over on offense and looked to strike first.

Quarterback Keil McGriff and the Panthers marched down the field into the red zone with little resistance. McGriff handed the ball off to David Schmidt who powered his way into the end zone for six.

Zach Spires drilled the kick through the uprights making it a 7-0 ballgame, Newberry.

Once again, the Panthers defense would not budge. PK Yonge went three-and-out and had to send out the punt team. Punter Pablo Diaz fumbled the snap. The Panthers’ D swarmed him upon recovery, forcing a turnover on downs.

Newberry then took possession and looked to capitalize on its advantageous field position. Chaden Scott took the handoff and bullied his way into the end zone for six. Newberry went up 14-0, with 2:21 left in the first. As the clock expired, Moore recorded his second interception of the quarter, pushing the team into halftime.

David Schmidt Takes Over

Newberry had solid starting field position to begin the second. The Panthers stuck to their game plan and ran the ball down the field into the red zone. Scott once again bruised his way into the end zone for a touchdown. Newberry extended its lead to 21-0.

PK Yonge found themselves backed against a wall and needed to make a statement. Trevor Brown II revived the kickoff and threw a backward pass across the field to Deldrick Goston. Goston followed his blockers all the way down the left sideline for a touchdown. The extra point was good for Teodoro Marson. PK cut into the lead making it 21-7.

The Blue Wave were able to force a fourth and long and Newberry sent out the punt team. Back to receive the snap was Schmidt, who instead of punting, broke free to the sideline and juked his way to a 52-yard touchdown. Newberry extended its lead with 7:55 on the clock.

PK Yonge then took the ball, but once again met Moore who snagged his third pick of the game to give the Panthers the ball.

McGriff and Schmidt continued to display their chemistry. McGriff found Schmidt with a floater in the back right of the end zone. Newberry extended its lead to 35-7. As the clock expired in the first half, Moore stole his fourth interception of the game.

High Paced Game Began to Slow Down

The defenses violently battle it out, forcing punt after punt and turnover on downs after turnover on downs. After a back-and-forth clash of the defenses, the Panthers were once again finding their stride. McGriff released a heat-seeking missile that found Schmidt for 25 yards. The Panthers were able to finish the drive with a one-handed grab from TE Logan McCloud. The clock expired in the third with Newberry in the lead, 42-7.

The Panthers Put on the Finishing Touches

PK Yonge received the kick to start out the fourth. Devin Pedro used his athleticism to turn a short pass into an astonishing 60-yard touchdown. PK softened the damage, but was still down 42-14. The next possession, Newberry kept the ball on the ground, driving down the field slowly and steadily. Eventually, the Panthers were able to kneel the clock away and celebrated their win. The Newberry Panthers finished 42-14.

Postgame

Newberry head coach Ed Johnson talked about the standout performance of Mike Moore after the game. He praised the athlete for being a “gamer.”

“He had never seen that before in a half, four picks, so it was a pretty special night for him,” he said.

The head coach also had complimentary words for wide receiver David Schmidt.

“David’s a special talent man,” he said. “He works his butt off for us and runs great routes. And his hands, like you said, are phenomenal.”

Coming up…

Next week, the 5-2 Newberry Panthers look to continue their impressive season against the 2-6 Dixie County Bears. Bears’ quarterback Bret Nettles and star receiver Jaydon Waugh will look to establish their own connection early and often. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 28.

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