Robert E. Lee Academy football head coach David Rankin knew if his Cavaliers knocked off Hilton Head Prep last Friday that it would be taking a trip close to the Georgia border for a semifinal game in the SCISA 2A state playoffs.
Rankin, whose …
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Rankin, whose team went on the road to beat HHP 39-26 and advance, thought the trip to the state line would be to the midwestern part of the state. However, REL will be traversing south instead, down Interstate 95 to Ridgeland.
That's because John Paul II knocked off Greenwood Christian 28-14 in a road contest as well. Robert E. Lee will play a 7:30 p.m. game against the Golden Warriors for a spot in the state championship game the following week.
"Yeah, I was a little bit surprised," said Rankin, whose team lost to Greenwood Christian 32-20 during the regular season. "They played a really good game though, and they have some really good athletes. You're not going to be able to push them around. They come after you."
John Paul II is 6-4 on the season and finished in a 3-way tie for first in Region II along with Hilton Head Prep and Hilton Head Christian. It got the No. 3 seed from the region though based on the SCISA tiebreaker.
The Warriors rolled up 390 yards of total offense against Greenwood Christian, including 290 on the ground. That's not unusual for John Paul II as it is averaging 236 yards rushing. However, the way it went about it on Friday was unusual, according to Rankin.
"They've been in the spread, but they came out in something I haven't seen (against Greenwood Christian)," Rankin said. "They had a split end and a tight end with the quarterback in the shotgun and two backs behind him and an up back.
"It's No. 25 that makes it happen for them."
And No. 25 is 6-0, 210-pound Zach Doe. He rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries and caught a 36-yard touchdown pass as well.
"We're going to have to tackle well. If we miss tackles on him he could go all the way," Rankin said of Doe. "We're going to put more people in the box than they can block and hopefully we'll tackle well."
Robert E. Lee had quarterback Jet Smith back in the lineup against HHP, and that allowed REL to move Keaton Price to running back. Price moved to quarterback while Smith was out and the move to running back was something new for Price.
"We rushed for 293 yards, and we had a good balance," Rankin said. "Hunter McGee rushed for 89 yards, Jet Smith had 83 and Keaton Price had 79. Having Keaton at running back worked out really well."
Price ran for two touchdowns and threw for another. Smith also threw a touchdown pass with both of them going to Matthew Johnson. McGee also had a touchdown run and Michael Smith caught a pass for a 2-point conversion.
Rankin, whose team is 8-3 on the season, was pleased with the play of his defense. The Cavaliers took a 39-10 into the final quarter.
Jacob Baker recovered a fumble for a touchdown. McGee, Price and Patterson Saverance each had interceptions.
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