The Carver-Atlanta Panthers are the lone APS team remaining in the playoffs after the South Atlanta Hornets fell at home last Friday to Bremen 42-6.

The Panthers will be on the road for the second consecutive week. This time they will take a four-hour trip to Blackshear, Georgia to play the Pierce County Bears for a chance at a playoff semifinal appearance since 2017.

This Class 3-A quarterfinal matchup will feature a tough Pierce County team who is averaging 36 points on the season and is undefeated in Region 1 3A. The Bears are also coming off a 41-0 shutout win against Central-Macon.

While Carver head coach Darren Myles has the utmost respect for the Bears, he is confident in his team’s ability to win and knows what it will take to come out of Blackshear with a win.

“We’re going to have to match their physicality, limit the mistakes, execute at a high level, limit turnovers and play for each other,” said Myles as the keys to his team winning.

Along with the keys to the game, being on the road gives the Bears a great home field advantage and Myles understands that as well.

“We’re going to be in an environment where it’s almost like Friday Night Lights the movie because it’s the only high school in Blackshear, Georgia,” said Myles. “I am sure everybody is going to be out. For us to be successful, we can’t get caught up in the lure of the environment.”

Just like last game where they came in down to their third team running backs, they will hope to have one of their starters, Jarveous Brown. They will also hope to have running back who also plays linebacker in Devonte Amasiani. If neither are able to go, they will have to count on their third team runningbacks in Terrico Faulks and Tavion Mann.

This is something the Panthers are prepared for and used in their 23-21 win against Cherokee Bluff.

“Because we went into the game knowing that we were going to not have some of those injured players, we prepared during the week,” said Myles. “We asked the offensive line and defensive line to step up their play.”

The Panthers stepped up, finishing the game with 150 yards plus in rushing.

Most importantly, a win Friday will make the Panthers the lone APS school representing in the playoff semifinals. Depending on the winner of Crisp County-Cedar Grove, the Panthers could possibly host a playoff game and have the chance to play in their backyard at Center-Parc Stadium for the state championship if victorious.

This game means everything for Carver and Myles and the Panthers community understands what is at stake.

“It would be awesome,” Myles said.“It is already exciting to still be playing. “Not only are we the only APS team playing but we are the only team in the city of Atlanta, private or public, still playing. To get back [to the semifinals] it would be awesome for the program, players, coaches, and parents, and community.

Photo: Anfernee Patterson/The Atlanta Voice

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