FLORENCE, S.C. — It’s important for South Florence to get off to a good start in its playoff opener Friday against Goose Greek, Bruins coach David Prince said.
In more ways than one.
“If they start off well, our kids seem to finish well,” Prince said. “That seems to be the story of the season for us to play well. We need to get off to good start and build some confidence.”
Confidence will be key as the 4-6 Bruins travel to Goose Creek at 7:30 p.m. to take on the 7-2 Gators, who captured the Region 7-5A title and have won five games in a row.
South enters the playoffs having dropped three of its last four games, all in region play, and is looking for its first playoff victory since 2014. The Gators have also not won a playoff game in a while, dating back to 2015.
“Our kids and our coaches are very excited to be in the playoffs,” Prince said. “It’s what you work hard all year for. It’s a brand-new season, records are thrown out and we just need to play our best football of the year.”
GCHS presents a unique challenge for South as the Gators are predicated on the pass. Quarterback Manny Mukuamu — the little brother of University of South Carolina DB Israel Mukaumu — has already thrown for 2,007 yards and 23 scores this season, and can also run with the ball when needed.
“He’s a tremendous athlete throwing and running, and can really hurt you,” Prince said. “They’ve got some really skilled wide receivers that are making a lot of plays for them. They’re not a ground-and-pound team; they’re four-wide and they’re throwing it a lot.”
That will put extra pressure on the Bruins’ secondary. Matt Howard and Denzel Brown lead South Florence with three interceptions apiece and the Bruins have 12 as a team.
“It’s definitely going to be a challenge for our guys and to try and keep their quarterback contained,” Prince said.
GCHS is outscoring its opponents 303-133 this season, meaning the defense is allowing an average of 14.8 points per game.
“They don’t have the (USC DE) Javon Kinlaws like they’ve had in the past, but they’ve still got 11 guys that run really well,” Prince said. “Getting movement on the defensive line by our offensive line is going to be a big key. Having (QB) La’Norris (Sellers) complete some passes early on will be big for us.
“We’ve just got to play really well in order to win.”
Sellers has thrown for 1,217 yards this season with 12 TDs and running back Hahsaun Wilson is second in the Pee Dee with 1,246 yards and 11 scores.