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Panthers look for first win against crosstown foe

By Jack Jeffrey | Pinewood Prep Contributor

Pinewood will face crosstown rival Northwood Academy Friday night, August 17th. The Panthers come into the game winless on the season with an 0-7 record. Northwood Academy on the other hand sits at 2-4.

Pinewood Prep is coming off of a 68-13 loss to SCISA 3A powerhouse First Baptist. The Panthers struggled defensively but found success in places on offense. “We’re coming off of a game where we got points on the board early, we just struggled on defense,” said Panthers head coach, Michael Wright. “I feel we can put points up on the board against Northwood. We can stretch them, because we do have speed on the outside. In the end though, we have to be able to stop them defensively, to truly be successful.

The Northwood Academy Chargers are coming into the matchup fresh off of a win. The Chargers bested John Paul II 35-21. Northwood has struggled to score in their four losses but show the potential to put up points as they’ve scored 34 and 35 points respectively in their two victories.

The Panthers have certainly struggled on defense this season, but Coach Wright has still expressed confidence in his team. “We feel comfortable, we feel confident that with a good week of practice that we should be okay, as long as we’re doing the things we’re supposed to be doing. I feel like we have a really good chance of winning,” stated Wright. Now Northwood is going to be tough, they’re not going to give it to us, we’re going to have to earn it. But I feel like we definitely have the opportunity to win this game.”

Historically the matchup between Northwood Academy and Pinewood Prep has gone in favor of the Panthers. Pinewood has beaten Northwood Academy the past four seasons in a row and the Panthers took it to the Chargers last year, securing the win by a score of 42-0. “We were able to beat them last year, because offensively we got a good rhythm going and defensively coming out of halftime we shut them down,” said Wright. “Our hope this year though, is that we don’t have to wait to halftime and we shut them down out of the gate.”

Last year Pinewood had the home field advantage which is something they will be without in this season’s matchup. “We’ve seen so much of each other over the years,” Wright noted. “It’s not like going to Columbia or Augusta, Georgia or any place like that. It’s ten minutes across town, if that, so it kind of is like playing a home game.”

Pinewood historically has been favored in the matchup, but it will take an inspiring performance to notch their first win of the season and best their crosstown rivals once again.

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