By Joshua Ford | Waccamaw Contributor
It’s homecoming week for the Warriors as they prepare to face the Bishop England Battling Bishops. It’s a battle between the top two teams in region VII-AAA with the Warriors sitting atop the region at 5-1 and the Bishops are right behind them in second at 3-2, coming off a 35-3 win against Hannahan.
In last year’s match between the two schools, Waccamaw was on the verge of winning its first game at Bishop England, leading 13-12 with three minutes left to play. Bishop England scored 11 unanswered to win 23-13.
“They’re tough, they’re athletic and they give really good effort,” said junior quarterback Denson Crisler. “That’s something we need to match, and if we don’t, we’re going to find ourselves on the wrong end of the scoreboard.”
Crisler has thrown for 823 yards with 11 touchdowns this season with just three interceptions and a QB rating of 108.
“Denson’s played really well so far,” head coach Shane Fidler said of his lunch buddy. Instead of eating in the cafeteria during lunch, Crisler watches film with Fidler.
“He’s had his moments that you see with any first-time starter, but I think he’s really managed the team, which is exactly what I expected him when he got the role,” Fidler said. “I expected him to manage the team and the offense very well and he has. He’s done a great job of that so far.”
Although the stats as of late haven’t been eye-popping for Crisler, who averages 13 passes a game, that’s not the whole story in football.
“If you’re looking at his stats, you’re looking for the wrong things,” Fidler said. “You look at his grade sheet, you’ll see that he’s playing exceptional these last couple of games. But we just haven’t had to throw the ball. It’s not been necessary.”
With running backs like Kaimon Skinner, who averages over nine yards a carry with 690 yards and nine touchdowns, Jayvion Simmons, who has 309 scrimmage yards and five total touchdowns, and do-it-all fullback Kaisaun Grate with 212 yards and three total TDs, throwing has been at a premium.
“Not throwing the ball hasn’t really been an issue since we’ve ran the ball so well,” Crisler said. “Having a great running attack is great so that we can always have a balanced game plan and count on our guys to give us 100 percent effort.”
The Bishops have their own talented gun-slinger in senior Cameron Costa. Costa has thrown for 879 yards and six touchdowns but also six interceptions with a 78.3 QB rating. Costa has added two rushing touchdowns as well.
Fidler describes Costa as, “a very big quarterback who likes to throw the ball all over the place.”
Costa is listed as 6’3 and 215 pounds.
“It’s really not different than any others,” Crisler said of the homecoming match-up. “We just want to do what we need to do, gameplan what we need to gameplan and just win.”
The Bishops won a AAA state title in 2017 that gave them 17 in a row. Waccamaw needs to be disciplined in order to stop them.
“We’re just trying to work on their technique when it comes to holding or whatever to make sure we don’t get those in the future,” Fidler said of fixing what he calls “effort penalties”. “But the effort the kids are giving is unbelievable right now. We just gotta fix the technique on some things.
“They’re very disciplined. They’re going to be in the right spots. We as coaches gotta make sure our kids are in the right spots.”
“Bishop England is a tough opponent. I think having them for Homecoming is gonna help us out. Our crowd is gonna show up and they’re gonna make a difference in the game,” Crisler said. “It’s been a good season, but we’re not satisfied. We’re hungry for more.”
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