A resurgent Manning High School football team hosts Waccamaw in an important Region VIII-3A matchup on Friday at Ramsey Stadium.
Manning has won back-to-back games, improving to 3-3 on the season, and are currently tied with Bishop England for …
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Manning has won back-to-back games, improving to 3-3 on the season, and are currently tied with Bishop England for the top spot in the region at 2-0.
Waccamaw enters with an impressive 5-2 overall record, but it lost to Bishop England 33-17 last Friday and now need to beat the Monarchs to have a realistic shot at winning the region.
The Monarchs racked up 188 yards on the ground in their 27-14 victory over Georgetown last week. Manning offensive right guard Anthony Hilton set the tone for the Monarchs up front, recording four knockdown blocks while grading out at 93%. Hilton earned The Sumter Item Offensive Lineman of the Week honors for his performance against the Bulldogs.
"That means a lot because it means I put in a lot of work and I'm proving myself," said Hilton. "It's telling me that I'm getting better each week."
The back-to-back victories to open region play has marked a stunning turnaround after the Monarchs appeared to be reeling with three straight losses.
"It feels good," said Hilton. "We're getting momentum going into region play, and we're going to try to keep this going on in the playoffs and hopefully get that (state championship) ring too."
The team enters Friday's contest more confident since head coach Reggie Kennedy elected to move starting running back Caleb Wright back to his original position. Wright was filling in at quarterback after Corey Graham suffered a season-ending injury against Wilson.
Wright rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown and caught one pass for 22 yards against Georgetown after rushing for over 100 yards and three touchdowns against Academic Magnet the week before.
"Yeah it helps because I've been working with Caleb for a minute," said Hilton. "He gets to play his original position, so he's not out of position anymore, and I know how he plays and how he runs, so it makes it easier to block for him."
Waccamaw, which had a 4-game winning streak snapped by Bishop England, is led by junior quarterback Denson Crisler and Tyree Funnye, a playmaking wide receiver.
Warriors starting running back Kaimon Skinner came into last week's game averaging over nine yards per carry with 690 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. He was held to just 35 yards on 10 carries against BE.
The Monarchs know the stakes for Friday's game and how difficult it will be to slow such a dynamic offense, capable of beating them both on the ground and in the air.
"Friday's game is huge," said Hilton "(A win) puts us in the driver's seat, going 3-0 in the region. They're a tough team to beat, and I'm going into the game kinda excited. We're going to get a challenge, and if we can come out on top it's going to be big for all of us."
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