PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – After Jeff DiSandro took the Ponte Vedra football coaching job, senior RJ Glod asked about his role.

Glod was backing up touted junior quarterback Jacobi Myers. DiSandro, the Sharks’ first-year coach, told him to just prepare and be ready.

Preparation paid off in Friday night’s season-opener when Glod was pressed into duty following a Myers injury on the ninth play of the game. Glod passed for 246 yards and led host Ponte Vedra on the game-winning drive, as Campbell Parker raced in from four yards out with 49.4 seconds left to lift the Sharks to a 21-14 triumph over rival Nease in the 11th annual Battle of the Bridge.

It was the 10th consecutive victory in the series for Ponte Vedra (1-0), made more impressive by the final drive which, with Nease (0-1) leading 14-13, covered 72 yards in 3:14. Along the way, the Sharks converted a fourth down on a defensive holding penalty, and Glod set up the game winning score with a 31-yard strike to Michael Olkiewicz and a 10-yard scramble.

“That was the thing going through my mind on the final drive – to continue the streak,” said Glod, who completed 16-of-30 passes. “It was such a great experience.”

Myers led the opening drive, passing for 62 yards and rushing for seven. But he came up limping after that running play, unable to put weight on his right leg. Later, he was on crutches. After the game, he said he would be evaluated for a torn Achilles.

Glod has plenty of experience. But now, he was called upon to lead his team against their rival.

“It was pretty tense,” DiSandro said. “The kids said they would pull it out at the end. They have a ton of grit. It was an awesome experience.

“RJ and I talked when I first came aboard, and with (Myers) being there, he asked, ‘What do you think my role is?’ I said your role is to constantly prepare to be the starting quarterback, which he did. That paid off.”

Glod responded with a touchdown pass to Noah Washington in the second quarter, and led a pair of drives that ended with field goals by freshman Davis Ashcroft.

It was a frustratingly close call for the Panthers. Quarterback Joe Nieves rushed for 116 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown with 3:27 in the third after a bad snap on a punt set Nease up on the Sharks 2. 

The Panthers had good defensive efforts from Eric Marshall, who had an interception and a pair of pass breakups, and Chase Dexter, who had two of the team’s three sacks. But a failed fourth-and-1 at the Ponte Vedra 23 early in the fourth quarter, when George Sanders stopped Nieves on a run, was the start of a tough final 12 minutes.

The holding penalty on the last scoring drive and a dropped interception also were plays the Panthers would regret.

Nease’s final drive ended with a sack by William Frank and three incompletions.

“This was everything I thought it would be,” Panthers coach Collin Drafts said. “We had the game. We had the ball. It slipped through our fingers. But hat’s off to them; they found a way to win without one of their best players.”

Ponte Vedra 21, Nease 14
Nease, 0, 7,  7,  0—14

Ponte Vedra, 0, 10, 3, 8—21

PV – Noah Washington 25 pass from RJ Glod (Davis Ashcroft kick)

PV – Ashcroft 25 FG

N – Grant Stevens 15 pass from Joe Nieves (Canaan Kimball kick)

PV – Ashcroft 40 FG

N – Nieves 2 run (Kimball kick)

PV – Campbell Parker 4 run (Keaton Thomas pass from Glod)

Category | N | PV

First downs: 10 | 18

Rushes-yards: 31-127 | 29-20

Passing: 75 | 308

Comp-Att-Int: 11-23-0 | 20-34-1

Fumbles-lost: 1-0 | 3-0

Penalties-Yards: 4-37 | 4-32

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — N: Nieves 21-116, Montavous Rowe 5-14, JoeBradshaw 4-7, Team 1-(-10). PV: Parker 15-44, Collin Magill 1-10, Jacobi Myers 1-7, Thomas 2-3, Glod 6-(-2), Skinner 1-(-21), team 3-(-21).       

PASSING — N: Nieves 11-23-0-75. PV: Glod 16-30-1-246, Myers 4-4-0-62.

RECEIVING — N: Stevens 4-37, Bradshaw 4-25, Peyton White 2-9, Logan Andrade 1-4. PV: Michael Olkiewicz 6-120, Campbell 4-92, Washington 2-43, Max Silvas 1-20, Thomas 2-18, Aiden Lingenfelser 1-9, Tommy Zitiello 2-7, Glod 1-4, Andrew Lewis 1-(-5).