It was Senior Night for the Blue Wave of P.K. Yonge on Friday, but it was the Newberry Panthers who went home victorious with a dominating 42-14 win.
Panther defensive back Michael Moore intercepted four passes in the first half alone while receiver David Schmidt scored two rushing touchdowns and caught one more as Newberry moved to 5-2 on the season.
Both were named the Sonic Drive-In Co-Players of the Game for their respective performances.
“It feels good to get a win here,” Newberry head coach Ed Johnson said. “Come over here and get a road win and come out healthy and learn a little bit about ourselves in the process.”
After Moore’s first interception of the game, Newberry drove 50 yards and found the end zone with Schmidt’s 5-yard rushing touchdown on a reverse with 6:58 left in the first quarter.
The Panthers would force a punt, but a botched snap led to punter Teodoro Mason being tackled in the backfield giving Newberry excellent field position for its second drive. Junior running back Chaden Scott would find the end zone on the ensuing drive to go up 14-0 with 2:21 left in the quarter.
Another Moore interception on the next drive led to Scott’s second rushing touchdown less than a minute into the second quarter and a 21-0 lead.
“Any other game, I barely get any action, so for that to happen, I was a little surprised,” Moore said of P.K. Yonge throwing to his side of the field.
The Blue Wave found life on the ensuing kickoff. As P.K. Yonge returned the kick, the returner ran right and paused, stepped and fired a laser across the field to receiver Deldrick Goston, who was standing all alone near the Blue Wave sideline. The senior ran all the way to the Panther 40-yard line before reversing field to the Newberry sideline, made one cut up field and scored on an 82-yard kickoff return to pull within 21-7.
The slight shift in momentum wouldn’t phase the Panthers. As the saying goes, special teams make special plays and Newberry pulled a trick out from their sleeves.
On fourth down on the next drive, Schmidt, who is the backup punter, caught the snap, acted like he was going to punt the ball rugby-style and took off down the right sideline for a 53-yard touchdown run.
Johnson said that it wasn’t a designed fake, but rather it was an option for Schmidt if he saw green grass in front of him. In fact, Schmidt added that it wasn’t something they installed until very recently.
“Actually, we put (the play) in this morning in first period,” Schmidt said. “We weren’t expecting me to run. I was supposed to do more of a rugby kick.”
Moore would intercept another pass off Adrian Curtis to give Newberry the ball back, and the offense would continue taking advantage of takeaways.
Freshman quarterback Keil McGriff, who came into Friday’s game with 958 passing yards and 11 touchdown passes, found Schmidt in the back of the endzone on a fade route to put Newberry up 35-7 with just over three minutes in the half.
McGriff would also hit Moore for a 42-yard pass earlier in the game, giving him over 1,000 yards passing on the season.
“So, definitely being a freshman, usually you would think lack of experience, don’t really know the game,” Schmidt said, “But Keil McGriff, he is a ball player. He knows how to play. I put a lot of trust in him, and it comes out good.”
The Blue Wave would drive down the field on their final drive of the half, but on the final play, Moore intercepted his fourth pass of the half and ran out the clock on a 45-yard return.
“I’ve never seen four in a half,” Johnson said. “That was a special night, but that kid’s special. He worked extremely hard this summer, fall camp, and he’s reaping the benefits of it.”
Schmidt was just as blow away as Johnson.
“The only place I’ve seen that happen is in Madden,” Schmidt said. “That’s the only place it happens.”
However, Moore was not as celebratory.
“It ain’t nothing I’ve ever did before, but I feel like I couldn’t gotten some more,” he said. “I ain’t really too satisfied with it.”
The scoring would slow down in the second half as both teams would trade touchdowns.
A one-handed touchdown grab in one-on-one coverage by Logan McCloud put the score at 42-7 and led to a running clock.
“We like our guys,” Johnson said. “If you’re going to give us one-on-one matchups, we like Mike (Moore), we like David (Schmidt) and we like Logan (McCloud). That’s something we work on every day in practice.”
Late in the fourth quarter, P.K. Yonge’s Devin Pedro scored his third rushing touchdown of the season.
Next week, the Blue Wave play 1S District 3 rival Trinity Catholic (5-2) with the winner taking the district title. Newberry returns home and looks to make it three wins in a row as they host Dixie County (2-6).
Monday, Oct. 17
Lafayette (Mayo) 47, Branford 0
Friday, Oct. 21
Newberry 42, P.K. Yonge 14
Hawthorne 13, North Marion (Citra) 0
Bradford (Starke) 44, Dunnellon 0
Williston 42, Bronson 0
Bartram Trail (St. Johns) 21, Buchholz 6
Eastside 16, Belleview 14
Union County (Lake Butler) 42, Santa Fe (Alachua) 14
Columbia (Lake City) 35, Gadsden County (Havana) 22
Florida High (Tallahassee) 42, Chiefland 21
Keystone Heights 38, Taylor (Pierson) 0
Aucilla Christian (Monticello) 21, Bell 7
Branford 49, Cedar Creek Christian (Jacksonville) 28
Cambridge Christian (Tampa) 41, Dixie County (Cross City) 6
Fort White 32, Ridgeview (Orange Park) 15
St. Augustine 58, Gainesville 0
Lafayette (Mayo) 42, Trenton 0St. Francis Catholic Academy at Oak Hall School, canceled
OFF – Suwannee (Live Oak)