Hughes set to clash with Glynn Academy in massive Class 6A showdown

The Langston Hughes Panthers and the Glynn Academy Terrors will play each other for the first time in their histories this Friday night in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs tournament. These teams both enter this game following massive first round victories and will look to advance closer to the GHSA state championship. This past week, the Panthers defeated the Northside-Warner Robins Eagles 27-0 and the Terrors beat the Grovetown Warriors 42-3. Both programs seemed to have gotten past their first round opponents with relative ease, but this game looks to be a much more difficult task for both programs.

The Panthers ended their season with a 10-1 overall record and a 4-1 region record—earning them the No. 7 rankings in the 6A Class pre-playoff poll. They also were on a five-game winning streak heading into the playoffs, which could be some momentum that they’re still playing with as they continue hitting their stride at the opportune time. Last week, the Panthers pitched a shutout against the Eagles and head coach Daniel Williams talked about the excitement of advancing past the first round.

“Oh it definitely feels good do advance to the next round because we actually have a lot of kids who have never been to the playoffs so they’re really excited about it,” said Williams. “A lot of them don’t know the history about us and Northside, but I do. The last time we played them in the playoffs we lost to them 38-10, so it felt good to get some redemption and move on. It’s a big deal.”

Moving to the next round for the Panthers is a big deal because historically they’ve never made it past the second round. The team, which played its inaugural season in 2009, has also never won 11 games in a season. If the Panthers were to win this Friday night, they would set new school records in both win-total and postseason success. This upcoming matchup won’t be easy, however, as the Panthers will have to go on the road and travel to Brunswick, Georgia to face the Terrors of Glynn Academy.

The trip will take around five hours and according to Coach Williams and it will be the longest bus ride the team has ever taken. The Panthers mainly play against other teams in the Metro-Atlanta area and aren’t used to this type of travel. This will obviously be a unique experience for the team and Coach Williams discussed that as well.

“I think it’s a very unique experience for us to adjust to because the longest bus ride we’ve had this year was around 30 to 40 minutes,” said Williams. “Now we have to travel around five hours to go play a win or go home game so we’re going to have to make sure our guys are comfortable and focused for five hours.”

Going on the road to play a very well coached team like the Terrors is going to be a challenge for the Panthers, but Coach Williams believes that discipline will be key for this team to have a fighting chance to win this game. Williams spoke about what about Glynn Academy makes the program such a difficult opponent to play against.

“What makes them tough is how well they play on offense and defensive.” said Williams. “On offense they got a guy at quarterback who can move and their running game is pretty good and defensively they have guys that rally to the ball. They play man coverage and like to switch up the coverages on the back end, so we got to be disciplined. That’s what we’ve been preaching to the team all week long is discipline because if you’re not they can make you pay.”

The Terrors come into this game with an 8-3 overall record and a 5-1 region record that earned them the top seed out. Even though this team wasn’t ranked in the 6A Class, they went on a six game win streak to end the year after starting off 2-3 and have been playing some of the best football in the state in recent weeks. This team looks like they have a lot of momentum coming off of their dominant 42-3 win over Grovetown. Head Coach Rocky Hidalgo has done a great job with the team this year and gave his thoughts on the first round win and win-streak heading into the tournament.

“Oh we are very excited and can’t wait to play.” said Hidalgo. “I think our guys are getting better and playing fast and if we want to keep this streak going we are going to have to keep winning if we obviously want to keep moving forward in the playoffs.”

During the six game win streak the Terrors defensively have held their opponents to only 4.1 points a game and are scoring well over 30 points offensively in three of those games. Maybe a similar performance will be needed to try to defeat the Panthers. According to Hidalgo, the team is going to have to play a full 48 minutes of football to better their chances of coming out on top. Hidalgo explained how he thinks this game will turn out.

“We’re going to have to play a full 48-minute type of game,” said Hidalgo. “They have a lot of talented guys over there and playing a full 48 minutes is how were going to have an opportunity to win and on defense we’re going to have to keep those guys out of the endzone.”

This game is projected to be one of the best games in round two of the playoffs and might come down to the last possession. The Terrors have hopes of making it back to state since they last did five years ago in a losing effort to Allatoona with a score of 10-6. It has been 56 years since the Terrors won their last state championship and they are determined to do everything they can to celebrate championship glory once gain. As for the Panthers, they will try to make school history and make it to the state title game for the first time.

Coach Williams has done a tremendous job in just his second season—making this team one of the best in the 6A class. As he continues to grow as a coach and as this program continues to grow they are climbing closer to the ultimate goal of earning a state crown one day.








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