DARLINGTON, S.C. — With the cold and wet conditions on Tuesday, a lot of football teams likely kept practice indoors as they prepared for this week’s playoff games.
Not Trinity-Byrnes — but with good reason.
“Normally we wouldn’t go outside on a day like that, but Friday’s forecast looks like it’s going to be about the same,” Titans coach Jared Amell said. “We’ll do the same (Wednesday) and tomorrow. We’ll try to get our kids acclimated to the conditions as best we can.”
It’s one more unknown T-B is preparing for as it gets set to host Orangeburg Prep at 7:30 p.m. with a trip to the SCISA 2A state championship game on the line. The winner faces either Florence Christian or Hilton Head Christian on Nov. 23 at Benedict College in a 7:30 p.m. matchup for the title.
With the weather conditions being what they’re projected to be, turnovers are likely going to be the deciding factor, Amell said.
“The key is going to be whoever handles the ball better,” he said. “That’s one of those things as a coach that will keep you up at night because that’s kind of the uncontrollable, or the X-factor if you will. But I think that’s going to decide the game — the turnover battle.”
It won’t be the only challenge. The Indians (8-2) have already taken down two of the top teams from Trinity’s (12-2) region in Florence Christian and Robert E. Lee Academy. OP held both high-scoring offenses to just 14 points in each contest.
Scoring hasn’t been an issue for the Titans, who average 55 points per contest and haven’t scored less than 42 since their second game of the season.
But even though the raw numbers might not stand out for Orangeburg, collectively they’re a strong unit, Amell said.
“They have a great defense,” he added. “It’s not one player you highlight, it’s just 11 players that all get after it and play really hard. They’re a tough, gritty team, and I think points will be at premium Friday night.”
Orangeburg averages 31.5 points a game on offense, and the Indians have spread the wealth this season. They have six players who have rushed for 200 yards or more, led by Amir Tyler with 768 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Will Shaw and McCullough Mims have also combined to throw for 1,093 yards and 12 more scores.
“They present a lot of problems because they run a lot of formations offensively,” Amell said. “They mix up the pass and the run well. We have to slow down their run, especially when they’re in the wishbone, and we have to keep the quarterback inside the pocket. He does a great job of making things happen when he gets outside the pocket, so if we can do that and limit the run, I think we’ll be OK.”