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Abbeville High School

 

Abbeville preparing for another deep run

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Abbeville—Over the last four seasons, Abbeville has dominated the AA classification, and the Panthers are hoping to finish a fourth consecutive season with a state championship trophy.

Head coach Jamie Nickles once again led his team to a perfect regular season at 9-0 and another conference crown.  Abbeville has home field advantage through the first three rounds of the playoffs, but the coaching staff won’t let the team look too far ahead.

“Well, you have to take it one game at a time.  Each and every week, it’s a loser-leaves-town match.  You have to take each matchup very seriously and work hard to beat your opponent every Friday night,” Nickles said.  “You really hope you’re getting better each week.  I think our tough region has prepared us for what lies ahead.  The health of our football team is okay, but sometimes in the playoffs it’s not if injuries are going to occur, but when.  It’s how you deal with them.”

The postseason journey begins this week as the Panthers face Andrew Jackson, who finished fifth in its respective region.  Barring an upset, Abbeville will take on the winner between North Central and St. Joseph’s the following week.

“Our goal is to be the best team on the football field at our stadium on Friday night.  If it’s by one point, we’ll take it,” said Nickles.  “I’m impressed with their ability to be multiple on offense.  Defensively, they’re so big.  Their size is probably the biggest football team we’ve played against all year.”

Recently a pair of Abbeville players was honored with selections to the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.  Running back Cortney Jackson was named to the Sandlapper squad and has had a remarkable comeback story this fall.  The senior missed the majority of last season after tearing his ACL.

“He’s such an unselfish player and he should be commended for that.  We don’t feature a running back with 25 or 30 carries a game.  We do it by committee and he does such a good job with that role,” Nickles said.  “We’ve not really talked about (the injury).  He’s been able to block that out and get better each week.  His blocking has been a big key to our success.”

Also receiving the highest honor was Middle Tennessee State commit Nate Temple, who has been a force on the defensive side of the ball.

“It really started last year, but his leadership has continued to get better this year.  He’s been rock solid all year long from his outside linebacker position.  We use him to anchor the run defense on one play and the next he has the ability to drop into pass coverage or come off the edge,” Nickles said.

While those two earned individual recognition, there have been plenty of others that have contributed throughout the season. 

Quarterback JD Moore, offensive lineman Jake Hill, defensive linemen Carson Smith and Ar’darius Burton, and defensive backs Malik Leach, David Cobb and Gabe Calhoun have all been praised by their head coach.

“Everybody we play is going to be ready to beat us.  That’s just the way it is and the way it has been.  Whether we’re 0-9 or 9-0, it’s Abbeville.  You know you’re going to get everybody’s best game,” Nickles said.

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