Visiting South Sumter (Bushnell) arrived late to Newberry on Friday night, pushing the kickoff back 20 minutes.
However, the Raiders scored early and often, imposing a running clock in the second half en route to a 42-0 win during a steady rain and spoiling the Panthers’ homecoming.
They set the tone on the first three plays of the game.
Jayden Young returned the opening kickoff 45 yards to the Panthers’ 47-yard line. On the next play, quarterback Eian Finkley faked a handoff and ran around left end for a 46-yard run down to the one-yard line.
Colby Rinberger punched it in from a yard out on the next play for a 7-0 lead with 11:16 to play in the first quarter. It proved to be the game-winning score.
“Give South Sumter credit,” said Newberry Athletic Director/JV coach Bryan Roundtree, who was filling in as head coach while Ed Johnson served a one game suspension following the fracas at Union County last Friday. “They were disciplined. They held on to the football, committed very few penalties, and they were more physical than we were tonight.”
Finkley added a 13-yard scoring run with 5:58 to play in the first quarter and he added a one-yard touchdown run with 10:51 to play in the second quarter as the Class 4A playoff-bound Raiders (6-4) took a 21-0 lead at the half.
“We got off to a slow start last week at Union County and we did it again so we’ve got to figure that out,” Roundree said. “Next week, good Lord willing, we’re in the playoffs and we can correct that.”
Jamare Dorsey had a 16-yard touchdown run with 6:16 to play in the third quarter and Finkley connected with Dalton Sellers on a 38-yard touchdown pass with just over four minutes to play in the third quarter for a 35-0 lead and a running clock.
The Panthers (5-5) entered the night fourth in Class 1A-Region 4, with the top six teams making the postseason.
Newberry will find out on Sunday if its strength of schedule, which included games against 2A RV University Christian (Jacksonville), 5A No. 9 Wakulla (Crawfordville), and 1A No. 1 Hawthorne, was enough to put them in the FHSAA playoffs.
Roundtree said they weren’t going to talk about the South Sumter game, but instead turn their attention to the state playoffs.
“New season,” Roundtree explained. “That’s what we told the kids. Everybody is 0-0 and everybody has the same shot at winning it so hopefully we’ll have a good week of practice and come ready to go on Friday night.”
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