PROSPERITY — The Newberry High School Bulldogs had hoped to continue their hot start tonight against Batesburg-Leesville in what would be their season’s home debut were their stadium complete.
Instead, the match-up will be decided in Prosperity at the home of the Mid-Carolina Rebels on Saturday with an expected 10:30 a.m. kick-off time.
The game was moved to Saturday to avoid inclement weather from Tropical Storm Hermine.
The two teams last met in 2013 with the Dogs losing at home to the Panthers 19-39.
Last week Newberry barely edged out Ninety Six 14-10, to which Strickland credits his defense for coming up with two big stops.
The first was forcing the Wildcats to kick a field goal while the second was an improbable goal line stand late in the game.
With two and a half minutes remaining in the fourth, the Wildcats had a first and goal on the one yard line. Against the odds, the Newberry defense stood tall and stopped them all four downs.
“That was really key,” Strickland said.
Offensively, however, Strickland said it was a bit more of a slog, citing blown assignments and other “rookie mistakes.”
This week Strickland said he expects a stout test from Batesburg-Leesville and their duel-threat quarterback heading up an “explosive” offensive rounded out by a talented running back and receivers who block well.
Defensively, he said the Panthers are small (it looks like they’re starting 11 defensive backs, he said) but quick and often switch up their looks.
“We need to block our assignments and use our techniques. If we don’t we’ll be in the same shape we were last week, not being able to move the football,” he said.
Compounding the Dogs’ offensive struggles is the anticipated absences of tailback Amir Abrams and fullback/linebacker Ivan Ruff who are out with shoulder and knee injuries, respectively.
Next week Newberry heads to Chapin before returning home to contest their first game in the new stadium on Sept. 16.
Reach Carson Lambert at 803-276-0625, ext. 1868, or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.