PREP FOOTBALL

Stallions facing Saluda in 2A quarterfinals

BY DENNIS BRUNSON
dennis@theitem.com
Posted 11/17/17

In winning the Region IV-2A football title, Lee Central had to run something of a gauntlet in posting its 6-1 record. Including the Stallions, there were five teams that were ranked at some point in the 2A S.C. Prep Media Football Poll.

LC head …

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PREP FOOTBALL

Stallions facing Saluda in 2A quarterfinals

Posted

In winning the Region IV-2A football title, Lee Central had to run something of a gauntlet in posting its 6-1 record. Including the Stallions, there were five teams that were ranked at some point in the 2A S.C. Prep Media Football Poll.

LC head coach Justin Danner hopes that tough schedule will serve his team well in its 2A state playoff quarterfinal game today. Lee Central will be on the road against Saluda at 7:30 p.m. at Bettis Herlong Stadium.

"With our region being so deep, we hope that pays off for us," said Danner, whose team lost its region opener to Buford, before winning its final six games. "We thought we were better than Buford, but we found out the best team doesn't always win. Our region has made us to be prepared for every game, and we're certainly going to have to play four quarters in order to beat these guys."

The Stallions and the Tigers are both 11-1 on the season. SHS went undefeated (5-0) in winning the Region III crown and it hasn't lost since its season opener when it fell to 3A Strom Thurmond 35-6.

Saluda doesn't wow you on the statistics chart. It is averaging 31.6 points a game and allowing 14. However, in the 10-game regular season the Tigers averaged only 284.7 yards of total offense. Its leading rusher, Kentavious Burton, had just 512 yards. Sophomore quarterback Noah Bell had passed for 1,531 yards and 13 touchdowns while rushing for 376 yards and 12 scores.

Jay Baker was the Tigers' leading receiver with 465 yards and three TDs on 35 catches. Bell's touchdown passes had gone to seven different receivers.

"They spread the wealth around," Danner said. "Sometimes that is more difficult to defend than knowing that they're going to go to one guy all of the time. We're going to have to be ready to go in all aspects on defense. They have guys that come in that wow you."

The Stallions have been stout on defense all season though. They have allowed just 149 points this year. They have allowed 20 or more points just twice and more than 14 points just one other time.

Saluda is in the midst of of a 17-game home winning streak. It defeated LC's region foe, Central, 24-21 in the opening round and knocked off Ninety Six 28-14 in the second round. SHS has not allowed a point in the second half in either of its playoff games.

Lee Central beat Keenan 42-16 in its playoff opener before holding off previously once-beaten Southside Christian 21-14 in the second round. The Stallions have operated out of the Wing-T all season and it has served them well.

"They use an 8-man front, a 4-4, which is something we've seen a lot of," Danner said of Saluda. "They've got very good people in those spots. but we're going to have to run the football the way that we can.

"We're going to have depend on what we have all year," he added. "We're going to have to run the football and take our shots when they are available. We're going to have to play Lee Central football."

Lee Central has distributed the ball to five different backs throughout the season. Demetrius Dubose, Deondray Moses, Naquam Peeples, Shamari Simon and Mike Watters have all had their opportunities, depending on who had the hot hand.

Last week against Southside Christian, it was Dubose. He ran for 156 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 20 carries.