The SCHSL football playoffs are usually filled with mismatches in the first round with 32 teams involved. Things normally start getting interesting in the second round as the No. 1 seeds run into No. 2 seeds.
That's what Lee Central High School will be doing today at Stallion Stadium in Bishopville. The No. 1 seed Stallions will play host to Southside Christian, the runner-up from Region II, beginning at 7:30 p.m. The Sabres aren't a 7-4, 8-3 or even a 9-2 No. 2 seed though. Instead, they own the same record as LC, 10-1.
"At this time of year for a team to get to this point, they have to be a good team," said Lee Central head coach Justin Danner. "The records are really out the window. You've got to be ready to play. For a team to make it this far they obviously have to be doing good things."
Southside's only loss of the season came at the hands of defending 2A state champion Abbeville in a region contest. The Sabres dropped that contest 33-14.
Southside, which is located in Simpsonville, defeated Chesee 50-0 in its first-round game last week. The Sabres have scored 453 points on the season, while allowing just 109.
The Sabre offense is led by quarterback Bryson Cheek and running back Malory Pinkney.
"They're very efficient offensively," Danner said of SC. "They're a pretty balanced offensive team. They do a good job of throwing and catching the football, and they find ways to run the football. They make you defend the whole field for four quarters. They try to get their players in space and make plays."
Lee Central has been stout on defense all season. It has allowed just 136 after defeating Keenan 42-16 in the opening round.
The Stallion defense was led by Shileake Albert with 11 tackles. DeAndre Oliver
added eight tackles, while Deontae Lowery, Travis Hickson, Shykeem Cooper and
Corey King each had five tackles. Jamonte Belin and Trey Robinson each
recorded a sack.
The offense was led by Shamari Simon with 108 yards rushing and a touchdown. Demetrius Dubose added 119 yards, while Edward Benjamin, Owen Lewis and Mike Watters each had a rushing touchdown.
Quarterback Tijuan Durant threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Ontaviious Jackson and Dayrice Austin returned a kickoff 80 yards for a score.
"We've got to try and make sure we can some pressure on the quarterback when they go back to throw the ball," Danner said. "We've got to try and take either the run or the pass away and make them one-dimensional.
"Offensively, we've got to find some room to run the football," he added. "And when we get a chance to take some shots we've got to hit them. We have to be efficient on offense."