The Antioch football program is looking to build from a successful 2017 season.
A year ago, the Panthers went 6-3 in the regular season then defeated Irvington and Dublin in the North Coast Section (NCS) playoffs before losing an overtime game to Freedom in the NCS semifinals.
While football is perhaps the ultimate team game, one would be hard-pressed to find a player more important to Antioch’s success than senior quarterback Willem Karnthong.
As a junior, Karnthong passed for 1,601 yards and added 13 touchdowns. He was also one of the most dangerous Panthers on the ground. His 800 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns ranked him second and third on his team a season ago and were the most of any returning Antioch player.
Karnthong will also have 2017’s top target back. As a junior, Gaudie Campbell led Antioch with 36 receptions for 760 yards and 10 touchdowns. Fellow senior receiver Tommy Jenkins Jr. and senior tight end Vincente Ballardo will serve as experienced targets for Karnthong. Jenkins and Ballardo also figure to play prominent defensive roles. In 2017, Dalaan Green and Omari Harris filled in competently for superstar Najee Harris. Combined, the two totaled over 1,400 yards on the ground with 22 touchdowns. The graduation of those two means that for the second year in a row, Antioch will have to replace its primary rushers.
In 2018, that burden will likely fall on senior running back Jaysn Wade. In 2018, he rushed for 258 yards, averaging nearly 10 yards a carry. Senior running back Emonie Jenkins and junior receiver Dejuan Butler figure to have bigger roles for the Panthers in 2018.
Antioch will close its regular season slate with games against rivals Deer Valley and Pittsburg. But the Sept. 21 BVAL opener at Freedom will give the Panthers a chance to avenge the playoff defeat from a season ago.
Antioch High School 2018 Schedule
Aug. 17, 7 p.m. vs. Lincoln
Aug. 24, 7 p.m. at California
Aug. 31, 7 p.m. vs. San Leandro
Sept. 7, 7 p.m. at Clayton Valley
Sept. 15, 2 p.m. at Marin Catholic
Sept. 21, 7 p.m. at Freedom*
Sept. 28, 7 p.m. vs. Heritage*
Oct. 5, 7 p.m. vs. Liberty*
Oct. 19, 7 p.m. at Deer Valley*
Oct. 27, 1:30 p.m. vs. Pittsburg*
* BVAL games