Bulldogs clawed by Panthers
Panthers’ Wilson scores five touchdowns on NHS
by Wilson Senn For The Observer
NEWBERRY — Batesburg-Leesville High School won the Region 2-AA championship after their 39-19 victory over Newberry high Friday evening at Mike Ware Field on the Bulldogs’ fourth annual pink out game.
The Panthers’ sophomore running back Terrance Wilson had a personal yardage evening around 400 yards which led to him scoring five touchdowns on the evening.
“We talked all week about if we did not corral that young man, it would be a long night,” said Newberry head coach Phil Strickland. “That’s exactly what happened.”
The Bulldogs scored their quickest touchdown time-wise in six weeks as it took them only 1:14 to move the ball 72 yards in three plays, finishing the drive off from six yards out with an Omar Sims run.
Jose Lozano’s extra point kick was good for the 7-0 score.
On the ensuing kickoff, Wilson returned it 63 yards, putting them at the Newberry 29.
Going for it on a fourth-and-three from the 11, Zycorrian Dewalt made the stop less than a yard from the first down marker at the 7:44 mark.
Newberry was forced to punt from their 22, putting the Panthers 60 yards from the end zone.
Wilson needed only one play to score from here as Newberry still led 7-6 after the Panthers’ two-point conversion run failed.
After being stalled on three straight plays, Newberry was forced to punt with less than two minutes in the first quarter.
The Panthers though fumbled making the punt reception at their 18 which was recovered by Demarcus Glenn.
After a three-and-out, Lozano was sent to attempt a 29-yard field goal. The kick was no good with 6.5 seconds left in the first quarter.
Wilson caught a 24-yard touchdown pass with 10:47 left in the first half. Rickie Smith converted the two-point run.
Facing a third-and-one from the Panthers’ 46, Sims never slowed down as the senior surpassed the 1000-yard rushing mark for his career on this touchdown run from here. Lozano’s extra-point kick was wide as the Panthers held onto a one-point lead at 14-13 with 9:18 left in the first half.
Batesburg-Leesville was held to a three-and-out but their punter was unable to handle the high snap, falling on the fumble at their 18.
Jaylen Caldwell turned a third-and-two from the 11 into a first-and-goal from the eight. Yafari Werts scrambled in from here a play later for the touchdown but their two-point conversion failed with 5:43 in the half.
Wilson scored his third touchdown of the first half on a second-and-goal from the 28 after multiple penalties. The two-point conversion failed with the Panthers taking a 20-19 lead into the locker rooms 2:09 later.
Newberry had 183 yards of total offense with Werts getting 93 of their 174 yards rushing.
“We were playing inspired ball,” said Strickland. “We came out and moved the ball well. They had something to say about that later on,” said Strickland of Batesburg-Leesville.
The Panthers meanwhile were only 37 yards away from having a 300 yard offensive night.
Newberry’s three possessions in the second half ended in some form of turnover including a three-and-out and two failures to convert a fourth down opportunity.
During Newberry’s second offensive possession of the second half, Sims went down with an ankle injury.
Wilson scored touchdown number four and five of the night with a four-yard run on their opening possession of the second half before ending his scoring with a 46-yard run 2:40 later. After a failed two-point conversion, the Panthers converted their only extra point kick of the evening.
Batesburg-Leesville completed their 20 point second half run with 8:34 left in the game with a 10 yard run from Rickie Smith.
“They (Batesburg-Leesville) controlled the ball,” Strickland said. The Panthers won the time of possession category 27:56 to 20:04. “We just could not get our hands on the ball. Sometimes it’s hard to simulate just how quick someone is and we found out right quick just how fast Wilson was,” Strickland continued.
Newberry falls to 6-3 on the season as they should end up with a ranking of third in the region (2-2) regardless of what happens on Friday to end the regular season.
The Bulldogs host Mid-Carolina high on Friday. This will be the 31st meeting between the two inner-county schools including having met 30 straight years since 1984.
“I know they will come out with a great game plan and will give us a heck of a ball game,” Strickland said of Mid-Carolina. “Let’s just hope we can come out with a little bit better of a game plan.”
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