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Bruins challenge Stallions

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By Robert Howey

Lancaster opens Region IV-AAAA football play in a big way Friday night.The Bruins, 5-1 and off to their best start since 1981, face the No. 2 rated Stallions, 6-0, to launch region play at Memorial Stadium.Buford is also home as the Jackets entertain North Central in Region III-A play.Andrew Jackson and Indian Land will be on the road.The Vols trek to Columbia to face Keenan, while Indian Land ventures to Chesterfield County to do battle with McBee in region play.Lancaster will be facing a ranked foe for the second time in three weeks.Two weeks ago, LHS battled Northwestern at home where it dropped a 27-7 loss.Bruins’ third-year coach Bennie McMurray is hoping the defeat made an impact on LHS.“We don’t dwell on a game, win or lose, but when you look back at that game, I hope our players see we need to play a complete game and go out there and compete,” McMurray said. “We have to get after them and make them earn everything they get.“We can’t make it easy for them by putting the ball on the ground and leaving our defense in bad field position,” he said. “South Pointe is well-coached and they have four Division I prospects. They don’t need any help.”McMurray said the Bruins face a tall order, but the game also presents an opportunity.“You don’t play the No. 2 team in the state every week, so you prepare the best you can, go out and put it on the line and compete,” he said. “That’s what I want to see our players do. Give it their best shot, but we can’t wait to get started. We have to go hard from the start.”Andrew Jackson, fresh off a 28-7 homecoming win in its conference opener, is hoping for similar road success.“Keenan is a good football team which has made steady improvement this season,” AJ coach Louis Clyburn said. “This game will be a challenge for us because Keenan is well-coached. They’re coming off a loss to Central and I know they will be pushing to get back on track.”“We have to go out and create turnovers and take advantage of them,” Clyburn said. “It’s also important for us to play well on our special teams.“Our tackling has improved and we’re starting to receive more contributions from our players, but we have to continue to be on top of our game,” Clyburn said.Keenan is 4-2, 0-1.Buford coach Mike Wells said he hopes a return home will reverse the Jackets’ recent fortune – a four-game skid, including three straight losses.The Jackets are 2-4, 0-3.“I thought we had outstanding effort last week at Great Falls and did a good job of staying in the game,” Wells said. “North Central is similar to use in that they’re struggling, but we need to be able to move the ball and hold on to it.“If we can sustain our offense and be consistent, it will help our chances to get our season moving in the right direction,” Wells said.North Central, 1-6, is 0-3 in region play.Indian Land, 2-4, 1-1, 0 is hoping to rebound from a lopsided home loss to Class A power Chesterfield.“We have to put that behind us and focus on what’s ahead,” Warriors’ coach Mike Mayer said. “The players who were suspended last week due to violation of team rules will be back with us.“That situation has been taken care of and we’re ready to go forward,” he said. “That’s where we’re headed.”Mayer said the Warriors’ main focus against the Panthers, 3-4, 1-2, is to stop the run.“Justin Bristow is the Panthers’ top threat and we have to do our best to contain him,” Mayer said. “He’s an outstanding back with tremendous speed, so we have to stop the run. If we do and can make them throw, I feel it will help our chances.“It’s also important to generate some offense and keep the ball away from them,” Mayer said.