Panthers win ugly over Raiders

By Bruce Hope Staff Writer
Posted 10/7/20

ORANGE PARK – After losing the first three games of the season by a combined score of 150-13, the Orange Park Raiders football team (0-4) put forth a more determined effort Friday.

Still, it …

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Panthers win ugly over Raiders

Posted

ORANGE PARK – After losing the first three games of the season by a combined score of 150-13, the Orange Park Raiders football team (0-4) put forth a more determined effort Friday.

Still, it came up short, 18-14, in a closely contested game against visiting Ridgeview High School (3-1), who put three scores on the scoreboard in the second half for the win.

Ridgeview High wide receiver Eddie Whipple, positioned in the Wildcat formation, put on a show for the Panthers, scoring all three of their touchdowns, including one with 5:31 remaining in the fourth quarter to take the lead that would be the final score.

“I thought we did a tremendous job offensively,” said Ridgeview head coach Matt Knauss. “Our offensive coordinator Cory Hawkins started finding different ways to get really inventive; to get the ball in the end zone and I thought that was a big difference because we needed to come out and get a spark in the second half.”

A big part of that was continuing to get the ball into the hands of their top playmaker, Whipple.

The Raiders had their own workhorse in terms of scoring, with running back JoJo Restall getting both scores for his team. The first came on a 46-yard touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead, with 6:01 left in the first half.

"They had tremendous athletes on the field and we were lucky to get out with the win," said Knauss. "We have to be more comfortable with our scheme and capitalize on turnovers. Our defense had another night of swarming and finding the ball."

Orange Park wouldn’t score again until Restall got his second score on a 28-yard scamper in the fourth quarter. Restall finished with 112 yards on 10 carries.

Orange Park sophomore quarterback Durronte Myrick carried 12 times for 70 yards on designed quarterback and read-option runs, with most of that coming in the first half. In the second half, the Panthers defense settled in and did a better job of controlling those plays.

Turnovers would doom the Raiders in the game. Despite Whipple’s heroics for the Panthers, they still had opportunities on which they failed to capitalize. On a second-quarter drive with the ball at the Panther 11-yard-line, Myrick threw an interception that ended a promising drive. Then, on the opening drive of the fourth quarter, the Raiders fumbled away another chance.

Whipple was dangerous in all phases of the game, doing damage on kick returns, running, and even lining up at quarterback on some plays.

“I just did it for my team. I’m just determined to score; do anything I gotta do to help my guys and get a ‘w,’” Whipple said of his all-around effort. “I’m comfortable playing anything, really. I just have the mindset that I can do anything, anything, the sky is the limit.”

Ridgeview (3-1) next hosts Middleburg (0-4), while Orange Park (0-4) looks to earn their first win of the season against visiting Bishop Kenny (1-3).

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