Panthers will have a lot of new faces this season, building experience for future
COACH: Richard Vester
2017 RECORD: 3-7
QUOTABLE: “I think any coach going into the season is expecting to have a great season, but the biggest thing we’re looking for from these guys is growth each and every week. We’ll just build upon the season each week.” - Richard Vester
STAR WATCH: Senior linebacker Trovon Banks (35 tackles, 1 sack in 2017) and senior defensive end/tight end Rashad Opoto (31 tackles) should keep the youth-laden Panthers competitive this season.
NEW FACES: Much of the Panthers’ offensive line is made up of freshmen making their varsity debuts this season, including Aaron Clarke and Mason Markle, but Newberry is one of several area teams falling victim to the state’s open transfer policy.
BEST CASE: The Panthers have a tough slate -- games against Madison County, Dixie County and Taylor County could prove nearly impossible to overcome -- but the rest of the schedule isn’t too daunting. If the Panthers have playmakers emerge on offense, Newberry could be a team to watch in the coming seasons. However, a .500 finish in 2018 appears to be the best case scenario.
WORST CASE: If the defense flounders and the offense can’t stay on the field, it will be a long season for Newberry. There isn’t a guaranteed victory on the schedule.
PREDICTION: The Panthers pick up wins against Santa Fe, Trenton and Crescent City to cap the season, but the rest of the season will be focused on incremental improvements.
WHERE NEWBERRY RANKS: The Panthers are ranked 13th out of 21 teams in the Gainesville Sun’s preseason poll.
Aug. 24 at Santa Fe 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 31 at Madison County 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 7 IDLE
Sept. 14 Eastside 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 21 at Williston 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Union County 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 5 Trenton 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 12 at Dixie County 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 19 Taylor County 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 26 Fort White 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 2 Crescent City 7:30 p.m.