Newberry extends win streak to six behind strong defense
By Cam Parker
Twitter – @camparker25
On Friday night, the Newberry Panthers won their 6th straight game by defeating the visiting Dixie County Bears, 21-14. In doing so, they also snapped Dixie County’s 4-game win streak.
It was a game of strong defenses throughout the game.
After a scoreless first quarter that included two straight turnovers on downs, Dixie County (4-2) opened up the scoring with an 18-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Sam Cannon to Kolton Hunt on 4th and 10.
On the very next drive, Newberry (6-1) would answer.
A Kobe Delima 40-yard run would set up an 8-yard touchdown run by Newberry quarterback Makai Johnson. This would be the first of three touchdown runs by Johnson.
That would also be the last score of the first half.
The second half started off strong for the Panthers with a 37-yard pass from Johnson to wide receiver Justen Crews.
However, Johnson would take a brutal hit inside the 5-yard line, resulting in a fumble recovered by the Dixie County defense. Johnson sustained an injury on the play, but that did not stop him from having a great second half.
The next drive, another long Delima run (this time a 50-yard run), would set up a 1-yard touchdown by Johnson to open an exciting 4th quarter.
Later in the quarter, Dixie County would tie the game at 14-14 with a Brenden Hall 85-yard punt return for a touchdown.
However, that score would not last long.
On the very next play, Newberry would answer with Johnson’s third touchdown rush of the night, this time a 72-yard run, which gave the Panthers the lead with 7:30 left in the game.
“We just need to keep working,” said Newberry coach Ed Johnson. “Our goal is to win a state championship.”
Newberry’s strong defense would step up when they were needed it the most to win the game for the Panthers.
Dixie County’s next possession found them with a 4th and 32, after two straight sacks by the Newberry defense. Carson Price would have the first sack for a loss of 7-yards, and Mason Markle would have the second sack for a loss of 15-yards.
“We had a horrible week of practice,” Price said. “I guess we just wanted a little bit of redemption for that. We knew our offense wanted to move the ball well. So, we had to lock in and go get it.”
Price finished with three sacks and one forced fumble in the game.
Dixie County would have one more chance to tie the game after stopping the Panther offense with 2:08 left in the game.
However, the stout Panther defense could not be held. With just over a minute left in the game, Newberry’s defense would ice the game after recovering a fumble, securing the win.
After last week, where Newberry was led by a strong offense, Coach Johnson was proud to see his defense, specifically Price, play a great game.
“Carson has been playing his butt off for us all season,” he said. “He’s made big timely plays for us. That kid just goes hard. He’s a big hitter. He loves contact. Our defense stepped up tonight and kept us in the game, which is big.”
Next week, Newberry looks to win its 7th straight when it travels to Santa Fe (2-3), while Dixie County has a bye week and then travels to P.K. Yonge (2-4) on Friday, Oct. 30.