Newberry HighÕs Hayden Moore (#14) runs the ball while EastsideÕs Victor White (#5) goes in for a tackle at Citizens field on Friday Oct., 14, 2023. The Newberry Panthers beat the Eastside Rams 0-38. (Photo by Sydney Johnson/ WRUF)

Newberry Football Prepped for Playoffs

The Florida High School Football State Championships start this weekend. In 1 Rural, the Newberry Panthers will play the Chiefland Indians on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Past Matchups

This is not the first time these two teams have faced each other this season. On Sept. 22, Newberry beat Chiefland by a score of 34-0 in the regular season. After that game, Newberry went on to win four of its final five games of the season. On the flip side, Chiefland went on to win two of its last five.

Last year, Newberry and Chiefland played each other in the first round of the playoffs. Chiefland was the 3-seed and Newberry was the 6-seed in region 4. The Indians had home-field advantage being the higher seed. Chiefland came out victorious, 49-7. They advanced to the next round of the playoffs, but ended up losing to the No. 2 seed in the region, Pahokee.

This Matchup

The roles are reversed this year, as Newberry claimed the 3rd seed and home field advantage thanks to its 8-2 regular season record. The Indians are the 6th seed, having a 4-6 record in the regular season.

Head coach of the Newberry Panthers, Edward Johnson, joined Steve Russell on Tuesday to talk about the upcoming game against Chiefland.

Johnson gave credit to Chiefland, saying they are a tough team and their coach, James Corbin, is a really good young coach. He also touched on Chiefland’s running back will be a lot to handle, so they have to make sure they are tackling well.

Johnson talked about how their defense has improved the most of this year, which is shown in multiple shutouts they had this season. They had four shutouts in the regular season: 45-0 against Belleview, 35-0 against P.K. Yonge, 38-0 against Eastside and, as previously mentioned, 34-0 against Chiefland.

Regular Season

Johnson also talked about their tough regular season schedule, saying “iron sharpens iron” when referring to the good teams they had faced. It has put his team in a good position to play well going into the playoffs. Even though Newberry had a tough schedule, they still came out of the regular season with an 8-2 record.

The Bigger Picture

Johnson talked about the culture he tries to build with his team, saying that football is the ultimate team sport and that trust is key with everyone. He attempts to build a brotherhood to instill that trust in his program. Johnson also said that it is much bigger than football; it’s about life. Football won’t last forever and will stop one day, he says.

The Newberry Panthers look to get a win in the first round of the High School Football playoffs Friday night.

About Regan Roberts

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