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Preview: Round 1 of the Playoffs

By Tim Crane
web posted November 12, 2015
SPORTS-  Region II Champion Strom Thurmond (9-1) hosts Mid Carolina (4-6) in round one of the AA Division I state playoffs this Friday night, a battle of the Rebels.

Strom Thurmond earned home field advantage throughout the playoffs when they secured the Region II title, the first for second year Head Coach Antwaun Hillary.

The philosophy in the playoffs is simple, win and move on or lose and go home. “There is no special changes in how we handle things going into the playoffs.  We just tell the kids what’s at stake.  We’ve worked extremely hard to get here.  We have a special group and we’re not ready for it to be over”  stated Coach Hillary.

Mid Carolina enters the playoffs after finishing fourth in Region III.  Two Region III teams played for state titles last season (Newberry and Kenan) and that region is just as tough this year.

“Mid Carolina is a very good football team, well coached.  They are sound team and not your average 4-6 team. They are very fundamental and won’t make many mistakes” said Coach Hillary.

The winner of this game will face the winner of Newberry vs Pendleton.

Link to the Div 1 AA brackets:  http://schsl.org/2015Brackets/fb2-1.pdf

Last Meeting:  Nov 12, 2010 ST won 38-14. 

All-time series:  ST leads 11-0. 

Factoid:  Strom Thurmond’s first football game was played against Mid Carolina High School on August 31, 1961, at Watson Park in Johnston with Strom Thurmond winning 31-0. 

Strom Thurmond:
Last game:  Beat Ninety Six 42-8.
Offense:  31 ppg
Defense:  21 ppg

Mid Carolina: 
Last game:  Lost to Fairfield Central 35-0.
Offense:  22 ppg
Defense: 23 ppg

Keys to Victory:  “Offensively we must protect the ball.  Most of the time in the playoffs, the team that has the fewest turnovers will win.  We have to be smart and try not to do anything extra with the ball when it isn’t warranted. 
We must establish the run- running the football is very important this time of year.  Got to win the battle of up front.  We’ve had a tremendous week of practice with the offensive line and I look forward to those guys hitting the field Friday night.  
Their quarterback is a left hander and does a good job.  They run a bunch of crossing routes.  We must get pressure on him and create some turnovers.  We’ve done an excellent job of creating turnovers this year, we must keep the trend going. ” stated Coach Hillary. 

Kickoff is 7:30 at Strom Thurmond High School

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