Posted: September 13, 2018
This evening the Red Devils of Newton-Conover welcomed the 2AA defending state champion Hibriten Panthers to Dick Gurley Stadium, in a rematch of last year's one point game that Hibriten won in the final seconds of the game. Some might have wondered if this game, originally scheduled for Friday night but moved to today due to Hurricane Florence, be a repeat of last year's thriller. The answer would be a resounding no.
Hibriten would receive the ball and just needed 14 seconds to strike as Marqwone Jones broke out on a 67 yard touchdown touchdown (PAT was good) giving the Panthers a 7-0 lead. Newton-Conover would answer right back as Red Devil halfback Allen Willfong would gain significan yardage. Quarterback Justice Craig followed up by connecting with wide reciever Josh Nichols for a touchdown (PAT was not good), narrowing Hibriten's lead at 7-6 with 8:46 left in the 1st quarter.
On the next Hibriten series, Panther halfback Gee Witherspoon would break off a 60 yard run (PAT was good), giving the Panthers a 14 -6 lead with 6:07 left in the 1st quarter. Newton-Conover would answer right back driving into Hibriten territory. However, Hibriten's JKarson Pilkenton would intercept a Justice Craig pass and take it to the house, giving Hibriten a 21 to 6 with 3:51 left in the 1st quarter.
A little over a minute later, Newton-Conover would strike back as Allen Willfong would score on a 40 yard run (PAT was good), cutting the lead to 21 to 13 with 2:26 left in the 1st quarter. Before the first quarter ended, Gee Witherspoon breaks free again on a 40 yd TD run, giving Hibriten a 28-13 lead.
In the 2nd quarter Hibriten defense forcing a sack on Justice Craig. But the sophomore QB would shake it off and hit Allen Willfong on 3rd and 22 for a 39 yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 28 to 19 (PAT no good) with 8:55 left before halftime.
At this time, Hibriten would then dominate the game, scoring 35 unanswered points. On Hibriten's next possession, Marqwone Jones would break free on a 44 yard touchdown (PAT was good), to place Hibriten up 35 to 19 with 7:35 left in the 2nd quarter. The Panthers defense would then stuff the Red Devils offense and Newton-Conover would lose yardage.
A Hibriten fumble would be recovered by the offense which turned into a Gee Witherspoon 41 touchdown (PAT was good), giving Hibriten a 42-19 lead. Before halftime, Hibriten would once again score, giving Hibriten a 49-19 halftime advantage.
The second half started much like the first half ended with Hibriten's Gee Witherspoon scoring a touchdown on a 51 yard run. In the 4th quarter, Hibriten would envoke the mercy rule with Noah Isbell scoring another Panther touchdown, giving Hibriten a 63-19 advantage which ended up being the final score. The Panthers had a chance to reach 70 points but elected to take a knee to end the game on the only negative yard play for Hibriten in the entire game. Hibriten would amass 599 yards rushing total with over 200 yards rushing by Gee Witherspoon, over 180 yards rushing by Marqwone Jones, and 80 yards rushing by Aaron Logan.
With this win the Panthers improved to 5-0 and will play their homecoming game and their Northwest Foothills 2A Conference opener at Jeff Storie Memorial Stadium against 0-5 Bunker Hill, a team who lost Thursday night to West Wilkes. With the loss Newton--Conover falls to 2-2 and will try to bounce back at Wolf Hallow against the 1-3 Lincinton Wolves (Lincolton was open this week) for their South Fork 2A Conference opener. This was the 20th straight win for the Hibriten Panthers and 20th straight game has given up less than 20 points. The 63 points were the most given up by Newton-Conover since 2003 when Bandys scored 66 against them.