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Playoffs, pride on the line

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County AA teams seek postseason wins Friday

By Robert Howey

 

November high school football means playoffs and pride.

For the Lancaster County Class AA high schools, it’s all about the postseason.

For Lancaster High School, it’s the Bruins final shot at pride this season as they cap their 2013 campaign at Memorial Stadium.

Lancaster County Class AA teams – Andrew Jackson, Buford and Indian Land  – will be seeking to extend their seasons in postseason play.

Class AA, for the second straight season, is crowning two state champions with a split in the playoffs based on enrollment.

Indian Land will compete in the Class AA Division I field, while Buford and AJ are in Division II.

IL, 2-7 and fresh off a 23-19 home win over rival Buford, is on the road to face Columbia High School at Memorial Stadium. The early bracket had the Warriors in Columbia to face Keenan High School, but the bracket was revamped and the Warriors were reset to face Columbia.

AJ and Buford will do battle in the opening round of the Class AA Division II playoffs at AJ.

Lancaster, out of the postseason picture, hosts South Pointe of Rock Hill in the annual LHS senior night game.

The county slate is highlighted by the Jackets visit to face the AJ Vols.

The Vols, 4-6, 2-3, defeated BHS, 16-7 at AJ earlier this season to open region play.

“That was a tough game decided in the late stages and we expect another tough game,” AJ coach David Moore said. “We had a solid game from our defense in our first meeting and we need that again against a tough Buford offense to defend.

“Buford can control the game if we don’t play with discipline on defense, and it will be tough,” Moore said. “They can control the game if we don’t tackle well.

“On the flip side, our offense also has to produce and keep them from staying on the field,” Moore said. “We need a good game from our offense.”

Buford coach Mike Wells said he’s impressed by AJ junior quarterback Kolby Whitley.

“He throws the ball well and has his share of good, solid receivers to go to,” Wells said. “When he has to run the ball, he can hurt you there, too. I think the key is to keep pressure on him and not allow him time to sit back there and make plays.”

Indian Land coach Mike Mayer said he hopes the Warriors can use their momentum out of its regular-season ending win to their advantage.

“We played well and the big part was we were able to boost ourselves with a good start,” Mayer said. “That helped our confidence in a game which had a playoff feeling.

“We have to play well in all phases and avoid key penalties and turnovers. We had zero turnovers against Buford and that was huge for us.”

Lancaster, 2-8, 0-6, is shooting to close its season with a region win.

“I’m glad we’re at home and I hope we come out and play well,” LHS coach Bennie McMurray. “We need a total effort and the big key is to make the most of our scoring chances. That’s an area where we’ve struggled and we have to make the plays and produce points.

“It’s been a frustrating season, but our players are still battling and I expect them to give it their best shot this week,” McMurray said.