FLORENCE, S.C. — The improvement of freshman quarterback La’Norris Sellers and sophomore receiver Tyae McWhite is one reason South Florence has won three consecutive games.
There is also the consistency of running back Hahsaun Wilson, who has rushed for at least 100 yards in five of the Bruins’ six games and has 869 yards and six touchdowns this season.
But among the various statistics that can prove a team’s effectiveness, this one is also prominent: South Florence has turnover margin of plus-six. In simpler terms: The Bruins have lost the football 12 times (eight fumbled, four interceptions) and have taken the ball away 18 (10 interceptions, eight fumble recoveries).
If South wants to make Friday’s homecoming game at Memorial Stadium a successful one, the Bruins’ defense will likely have to keep pressing to create more takeaways.
But that won’t be easy against Mason Garcia, quarterback for ninth-ranked Carolina Forest.
“He can throw it and can run it,” South Florence coach David Prince said. “He’s a dual threat for sure with such a well-coached offensive line. He’s hard to pin down because if you put too many in a box to tackle him, he’ll throw it over your head. And if you back too many up, he’ll just run it for a first down.”
Although Garcia has had an impressive season as the Panthers’ lone loss this season has been to Class 4A No. 1 Myrtle Beach, Prince wants his team to not focus on him and the Panthers.
Instead, he wants them to simply focus on themselves.
“We want to keep eliminating mistakes and executing what we do. That’s been helping us a bit during the past few weeks,” Prince said. “That takes the attention off the other team and keeps it on ourselves and what we can do better and how we can play faster an execute better. “That’s what seems to be what this group needs the most. It’s one of those things where if we just don’t beat South Florence, we’ve got a chance,” he added. “Then we can worry about beating the other team second.”
While focusing on themselves, the Bruins have to find a way to take Garcia off his stride.
“We have to do a great job disguising what we’re trying to do and give different looks and not give what we want to do away,” Prince said. “Hopefully, we can disrupt what they’re trying to do. That’s the biggest thing.”
With a 3-3 record of and 1-0 mark in Region 6-5A, this upcoming region game is also what Prince sees as a strong test of his team’s potential.
“It’s going to show us what we need to work on if we want to be successful in the playoffs,” Prince said. “It will be a playoff-type game and obviously we want to go as far in the playoffs as we can. It’ll either boost our confidence or hurt us a little bit.
“It’ll be either be one or the other,” Prince added. “The main thing for us is focusing on how good we can be. And that’s our message every day.”