FLORENCE, S.C. – Lake View and Cross High Schools are certainly no strangers when it comes to playoff football.
Friday’s 7:30 p.m. lower state semifinal showdown at Jewell McLaurin Field will be the third time in the last five years the two teams have met in the postseason.
The Wild Gators (8-4) are hoping for a similar outcome as the first two, but the Trojans (7-4) bring something a little different to the table than most teams.
“They do something we haven’t seen a lot of this year and that’s the triple-option,” Lake View coach Daryl King said. “They run it inside, outside, mid-line – they do different things. So it’s going to come down to our defensive line being gap sound and our linebackers reading their keys.
“We haven’t seen a lot of option this year, and one blown assignment can lead to a touchdown.”
Cross has made its living offensively behind four rushers with more than 250 yards apiece. Dorian Pinckney (523), Tylik Green (325), Deondre Brown (317) and Kaden White (262) have combined for 22 touchdowns.
“You try every week to get geared up and penetrate the offensive line and cause disruption in the backfield,” King said. “Problem against a team like this is that fullback will be gone before you ever see him. So it takes a lot of discipline up front in reading those blocks and getting where you are supposed to be.”
Lake View’s defense has been strong in that area all season. The Wild Gators are allowing an average of just 16.6 points per game, and have allowed 12 points or fewer in five out their last six contests.
Wanya Nesmith leads the way with 96 tackles and nine sacks. Marquise Johnson has 83 tackles and two interceptions while Jiqyle Reaves has four picks and three touchdowns on the year.
The offense has also been humming of late as LVHS has scored at least 48 points in five of its last six games as well. Ja’Correus Ford and Adarrian Dawkins have combined for more than 2,000 yards rushing with 30 TDs between them. Michael McInnis and Marvin Gordon have added nine more scores.
“We tell our kids every week that you’re going to lose or win a ball game at the line of scrimmage,” King said. ‘The backs can run for all the yards but it’s got to be because the line is doing their jobs. They’ve done a pretty good job over the last three games and we’re looking for them to go out and perform well again.”
Cross is allowing an average of 16.4 points a game and has only allowed more than 28 points once all season.
“They have a lot of movement up front,” King said. “They’re going to slant that offensive line and pinch and do different things. They’re going blitz out of it too, so you just have to keep your eyes up and know what your responsibility is on the offensive line and don’t get caught up in all of the movement.”